World’s first carbon reduction award scheme announced

Posted by James Ferre on 30th June 2008

A new campaign has been launched in the UK challenging businesses and the public sector to end so-called ‘greenwash’ by achieving the new “Carbon Trust Standard” certificate – the only way for organisations to prove they are tackling climate change and have made genuine reductions in their carbon emissions.

The ‘UK Carbon Trust’ has come up with the initiative as the global environmental movement gathers pace. In Australia the ACCC has become concerned over ‘greenwashing’ and have since created a number of guidelines for organizations to follow in order to ensure they do not fall foul of the Trade Practices Act.

The Carbon Trust says it wants to inspire businesses across the UK to get involved in taking action on climate change. Achieving the Carbon Trust Standard will enable organisations to take advantage of the bottom line benefits that come from reducing carbon emissions. It is also designed to show consumers which brands are truly taking action and help businesses looking at reducing emissions in their supply chains.

The Carbon Trust Standard was developed by the Carbon Trust in response to both growing consumer mistrust of organisations’ green claims and confusion amongst business about what to really do to reduce emissions and improve efficiency. “Our research shows that not only do consumers currently mistrust business’ climate change claims, but that business thinks existing carbon award schemes are confusing and lack credibility,” Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, advised. “What business and consumers both share is a desire for one, credible way to prove an organisation has not only measured, but actually reduced their carbon emissions year-on-year without the use of offsetting. The Carbon Trust Standard is the only answer to this.”

It is the world’s first carbon award scheme that requires an organisation to measure, manage and reduce its carbon footprint and actually make real reductions year-on-year. Unlike other award schemes, it requires organisations to take action themselves rather than paying others to reduce via off-setting – a practice seen as credible by only one in ten consumer respondents in a recent Carbon Trust study.

“Achieving the Carbon Trust Standard will enable organisations to take advantage of the bottom line benefits that come from reducing carbon emissions,” Mr Delay added. “It will also help brands stand out from the crowd as research shows that consumers and business decision makers will choose an organisation with an award like the Carbon Trust Standard over another of similar price and quality.”The Carbon Trust Standard was launched with the support of Environment Secretary Hilary Benn and Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden at an event in London.

The Carbon Trust Standard has already attracted some interest and support from a number of high profile organisations with 12 pathfinders being awarded the Standard at its launch, including prominent retailer Morrisons. The pathfinder organisations have collectively achieved an 8.4% reduction in their carbon emissions over three years, which translates into carbon savings of over 250,000 tonnes of CO2.Over the coming months the Carbon Trust will continue its work with thousands of businesses of all sizes across the UK to prepare them to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard.