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CRC Report 2011 – Opinion Round-Up

This month’s publication of the annual Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) League Table was so popular the Environment Agency’s website crashed under the interest. But what have the commentators been saying?  Here we sum-up the arguments for and against the CRC in its current format.

Industry Speaks

AGAINST Flawed metrics
Critics of the CRC have claimed the real energy savings made by firms have been overlooked due to the way the league table is compiled. In rewarding the ‘Early Action’ of fitting energy meters rather than rewarding only actual emissions savings, firms that have made cuts in emissions are ranked alongside those that have simply started measuring their emissions.  Moreover, firms that historically put in place effective measures, and hence are operating against an already efficient baseline, are underrated.  Cisco UKI’s Ian Foddering has criticised the report on this basis, representing the put-out feelings of many large firms that are ranked low.

FOR Competitive appeal
‘Business people love a bit of competition’ asserts Jessica Shankelman at BusinessGreen. The volume of people wishing to view the league table was so huge the website crashed. The vocality of those organisations that did do well, such as Bishopgates International, DECC itself and Manchester United is testament to this competitive appeal, which many believe will help in pushing down emissions more than a simple tax would.

FOR It’s a first step in a process to push emissions down
Yet some members of Industry have tried to assure us that their commitment is more than a winning desire. Vincent Neate at KPMG states that the report does represent tangible steps towards emissions reductions including reporting frameworks, Perhaps rather than basing all our opinions on the first report, we should more closely follow trends in future.

NGOs and Commentators have their say


AGAINST Lacklustre behaviour

The league table shows that 40% of firms have taken little or no action. Whether due to the retraction of Government rewards for the best performers in 2010 , or indifference from other causes, commentators have been quick to criticise the CRC as a whole for not significantly influencing behaviour.

AGAINST Poised for a fall

Economic recovery will inevitably increase emissions.  Given the league table is a relative measure,  Rebecca Seabury of Inenco suggests this may mean the scheme fails to incentivise consumption reduction overall.

AGAINST Overlapping carbon
Earlier this year Carbon Retirement highlighted (link) the futility of the scheme as a way to reduce collective emissions, due to the overlap with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).  The CRC is designed to reduce energy use, which will reduce emissions from the energy sector, but free up allowances in the EU ETS for other heavily polluting sectors to use instead.  Carbon Retirement has called for this oversight to be fixed by the Government reducing fewer pollution allowances to heavy industry.

The view from Government

FOR Chuffed with the result
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is as pleased as punch with the league table (not least due to it’s own lofty position), as is the Environment Agency.

In sum

The debut CRC League Table has cued contentious responses that inevitably reflect the interests of the parties involved. There are however important benefits of the discourse that has arisen, not solely to increase awareness of corporate carbon and reporting, but also how it may in the end generate a more effective policy tool in driving green growth.

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