What is driving corporate sustainability?

Rising interest in climate change means businesses are facing increased scrutiny over the environmental and social impacts of their practices. Mandatory carbon reporting already makes corporate sustainability obligatory for many big energy users. And securing funding in the future may entirely rely on a company’s ESG strategy thanks to financial guidelines like the TCFD.

Fortunately, there are many benefits to embracing corporate sustainability beyond ticking boxes. An organisation’s green credentials will only rise in value as the UK races towards its net zero target. Not to mention, at the heart of decarbonisation and sustainability is energy efficiency, which can uncover considerable cost savings.

There are various forces driving corporate sustainability, including a shift in consumer behaviour, policy changes and more ambitious government targets. These forecast a more permanent transformation in the business and finance sectors.

The race to net zero

The real fuel behind the environmental movement at the moment is the global race to net zero. Over the past year, the UK government has introduced new policies and plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This includes new energy efficiency standards, increased renewable generation, hydrogen development, and a ban on petrol vehicles from 2030.

What is clear is that the green wave is coming.  To stay competitive, businesses will have to create sustainable strategies that prepare them for a net zero economy.

EIC can be your partner in this journey, from the first energy audit through to accreditation. Along the way, we help manage all your energy admin and take the stress out of complex carbon legislation. The path to net zero can be difficult to navigate, but our experienced in-house team of energy specialists provide end-to-end simplification. Giving you peace of mind, and your organisation a green, resilient future.

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

In November 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to make alignment with the TCFD guidelines mandatory in the UK. This will apply to most sectors of the economy by 2025 including listed companies, banks, and large private businesses.

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures was established in 2015 by the international Financial Stability Board. It is based on the growing consensus that climate change has immediate effects on economic decisions.

This new step towards mandatory transparency will require a more holistic view of a company’s environmental footprint. It also confirms that investors are growing more aware of climate-related risks and are putting more faith in organisations that plan ahead. For this reason, it can be beneficial for organisations to follow TCFD guidelines, whether they are obligated to do so or not.

Impact investing and the rise of ESG

Environmental, Social and Governance strategies are not new to the corporate sector, but they have become more important in recent years. Now with a heightened focus on climate change and social justice, ESG is becoming essential for securing future investments.

This goes hand-in-hand with the rise in impact investing, which goes beyond mitigating risks and asks – how is your organisation positively impacting the planet? This trend has seen a rise in companies with social or environmental missions.

Why choose true sustainability?

The rise in climate action has led to some companies ‘greenwashing’. This is essentially when a company markets themselves as being ‘green’ without taking real action to reduce their environmental footprint.

There are many benefits to genuine environmental sustainability. The most important being an organisation’s longevity in a changing market.

If the recent shift in policy and finance has taught us anything it is that total transparency will be essential in the future. While ‘greenwashing’ may have some rewards now, it is poor preparation for a net zero economy. And though it may be cheaper in the short term, organisations that are ignoring their energy efficiency are missing out on significant long term savings.

Why choose EIC on your journey to net zero?

At EIC we know that building an environmentally and ethically sound business is not only the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do. Our in-house team can guide you through energy monitoring, carbon footprinting, green procurement and compliance legislation. Our aim is to provide you with holistic energy management and sustainable solutions that boost your green reputation and financial savings.

Contact us at EIC for a bespoke net zero roadmap for your organisation.

What the new Industrial Strategy means for big energy users

On March 17 2021, the UK government announced their plans for a new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy. In efforts to reach net zero by 2050, more than £1 billion has been channelled into industry, schools and hospitals. The strategy’s blueprint plans to switch 20 Terawatt hours of the UK’s energy from fossil fuels to low carbon alternatives.

The world’s industry sector generates one quarter of global GDP every year, as well as a significant percentage of jobs. However, industry also makes up a staggering 24% of global energy related carbon emissions. It is for this reason that the decarbonisation strategy is vital in championing a sustainable industrial future.

The strategy aims to cut two-thirds of emissions by 2050, meaning a 90% cut in comparison to 2018 levels. In addition, three megatons of CO2 are expected to be captured from industry by 2030. If this is achieved, the UK would become an international leader in industrial decarbonisation and manufacturing of low carbon products. But what does this mean for big energy users?

How will the decarbonisation strategy impact big energy users?

Carbon pricing

A carbon pricing tool will be introduced that helps assist businesses take account of their emissions by providing them with investment decisions. These measuring tools could potentially save businesses £2 billion in annual costs.

This project will ensure that businesses are maintaining the correct policy framework in switching to low carbon products. New product standards will also ensure that manufacturers are able to clearly identify their products as low carbon.

Financial benefits

It is imperative that this green revolution comes with economic benefits. Through greater energy efficiency, it is predicted that businesses will be provided with commercial opportunities and the chance to save on costs. These opportunities will be available across not only the UK, but global market.

Transforming industrial processes to include low carbon technology will benefit businesses tenfold. Significant costs will be saved on raw materials following a push for more sustainable practices, such as 3D printing and AI. Following the economic downturn created by Covid-19, finding a green recovery for the economy is vital.

Green links

The revamped decarbonisation strategy is heavily linked to the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, in which nine green tech projects will receive a cut of a £171 million grant. Announced last year as a £139 million project, the budget was further raised once the winner’s projects were announced. This challenge was created to support low carbon innovations across nine regions in the UK including Scotland, South Wales, Humber and Teesside.

As part of the Public Sector Decarbonation Scheme, £932 million has already been granted to 429 projects across England. This will fund low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps and, solar roof installations.

The strategy has also seen the emergence of the Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, otherwise known as ‘Project Speed’. The taskforce will ensure that land planning is fit for low carbon infrastructure. This project will focus on delivering infrastructure that is quick, efficient and sustainable. It could also generate over 80,000 green jobs.

How can EIC help?

At EIC, we provide businesses with comprehensive energy management, as well as next generation energy technology. Our in-house services range from green energy procurement to onsite solar instalment and battery storage.

On the journey towards net zero carbon emissions, it is imperative that the economy has a sustainable Covid-19 recovery. By championing both efficiency and self-sufficiency, EIC are dedicated to finding the most suitable and sustainable solutions for your business. Get in touch to learn more about how EIC can help your business work towards a profitable and environmentally friendly future.

SECR: How to make it work for your business

Compliance with carbon legislation such as Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) has become a corporate obligation. But it can also unlock a range of opportunities for businesses seeking sustainable growth.

This is because the energy audit and reporting involved in carbon compliance can gather valuable data. This can then help to unearth hidden financial savings by highlighting areas of inefficiency and waste. Not to mention, sealing those leaks to reduce carbon emissions.

So, while it is often seen as a tedious piece of admin, SECR can help organisations prepare for the UK’s transition to a net zero economy. Smart energy management can also help to build a resilient foundation for any future business.

Here are some of the hidden benefits businesses are privy to if they make the most of SECR.

Getting more out of your energy audit

If your organisation falls within the scope of SECR, your energy and carbon reporting is already a priority. But the data collected has value far beyond mandatory compliance.

Submetering and monitoring provide a window into the performance of your building. Helping to pinpoint any weaknesses and inefficiencies in your systems. This holistic view of your energy use and carbon emissions can help you build a smarter, data-driven sustainable strategy.

With the next-generation technology available today, you can go beyond the data and incorporate smart controls. Our sister company, t-mac, offers Building Management Systems (BMS) that enable real time insights with IoT technology. For big energy users, this is an invaluable energy management tool for streamlining carbon compliance processes.

Ignoring this data after the initial report would mean that you risk wasting time and money on energy admin. It would culminate in nothing more than standard compliance.

Preparing for future Scope 3 reporting

Currently, organisations are mandated to report on only scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Scope 1: Direct emissions from company operations such as company vehicles or factories

Scope 2: Indirect emissions from company operations such as purchased electricity generated by fossil fuels

But it is a long road to net zero, and scope 3 emissions will likely become a part of mandatory reporting before 2050.

Scope 3: Indirect emissions from company supply chains such as shipping, business travel, and raw material extraction

By making the most of your current reporting you can prepare your organisation for future compliance. This gives you an advantage over your competitors and helps mitigate any risks, and costs, involved in last-minute reporting.

Boosting your green credentials

Businesses are waking up to the rapidly evolving corporate landscape and the growing focus on transparency. With climate change now being widely recognised as a global challenge, it is clear that every industry will have to innovate and adapt. Any organisation’s growth and longevity will increasingly rely on its levels of sustainability and environmental, social and governance. Both at a leadership level but also embedded in the corporate identity as a whole.

SECR compliance spans areas like energy management, sustainability, and financial reporting. This challenge can be transformed into an opportunity by establishing open communication between teams and forming a more cohesive SECR team.

When EIC helps a client navigate complex carbon legislation, we go beyond compliance. By establishing a long-lasting sustainable strategy for your team, we help to incorporate green values into every part of your corporate identity.

Beyond compliance, genuine sustainability will become an expectation among employees, customers and stakeholders. While greenwashing is widespread now, with companies cashing in on the climate-friendly trend, this won’t be an option for long. With transparency made mandatory and rising interest from the general public, companies will struggle to hide their skeletons.

SECR can help you begin your sustainable journey by rallying your team around your environmental mission.

How can EIC help?

At EIC, we provide businesses with end-to-end guidance and support for carbon compliance including EPBD, ESOS and SECR. Our dedicated carbon consultants have supported over 300 organisations, many of them are big energy users with complex energy admin. Our goal is to simplify and streamline your energy management from utility connections to net zero guidance.

If you want to understand how to put the findings from your SECR reporting to good use or need to begin the reporting process, contact us at EIC today.

The EII Exemption Scheme: everything you need to know

What is the energy-intensive industries (EII) exemption scheme?

The EII exemption scheme aims to help big energy users stay competitive in a global market. Qualifying businesses can claim an exemption of up to 85% of their Contract of Differences (CoD), Renewables Obligation (RO), and Feed-in Tariff (FiT) costs. Providing firm financial footing in a post-Covid economy.

Why was the EII exemption scheme launched?

The UK has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which will require a transformative shift towards clean energy across the economy. This has resulted in a variety of government schemes which encourage the rise of electricity generated from renewable and low carbon sources.

This initiative has seen success, with renewables accounting for 47% of the UK’s generation in the first quarter of 2020. And even as consumption dropped in Q2, wind power generated electricity continued to rise due to increased capacity. This upwards trajectory is only expected to accelerate, with promising new renewable energy projects on the horizon.

The levies and obligations funding this growth are initially covered by energy suppliers. But, these costs are passed down to domestic and non-domestic consumers in the form of higher energy bills.

This puts energy-intensive businesses at a disadvantage. Especially when competing against their EU counterparts with lower energy costs. The launch of the EII exemption scheme is a solution to this problem and aims to maintain the UK’s position in the global market.

When was the scheme rolled out?

The original solution to the issue of higher costs for EIIs was a compensation scheme launched in 2016. This allowed big energy users to apply for relief from the energy costs they had already paid.

This was then replaced by the EII exemption scheme, rolled out between autumn 2017 and spring 2018. This change of approach is meant to offer energy-intensive businesses more long time certainty and stability as well as higher cost savings.

eii

Who can apply?

To be eligible for an EII exemption, a business must meet five key requirements.

  • The business must manufacture a product in the UK within an eligible sector – the “sector level test”.
  • The business must pass a 20% electricity intensity test – the “business level test”.
  • The business must not be an Undertaking in Difficulty (UID) – the UID guidelines explain that “an undertaking is considered to be in difficulty when, without intervention by the State, it will almost certainly be condemned to going out of business in the short or medium term.”
  • The business must have at least two quarters of financial data.
  • The application must contain evidence of the proportion of electricity used to manufacture the product for a period of at least three months.

Learn more about applying for an exemption certificate.

Big energy users who do not qualify for the EII exemption scheme should still be aware of rising energy costs. They should explore schemes such as Carbon Footprinting, Energy Audits, Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) and Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). These can provide invaluable insight into your environmental impact and routes to improve energy efficiency within your company.

Has Covid-19 had an impact on the scheme?

Covid-19 has thrown various sectors of the UK economy into a state of uncertainty and decline. The energy sector was especially impacted by the fall in energy consumption in the first six months of 2020. And resulted in a subsequent drop in electricity prices. This could make it more difficult to calculate a business’ energy intensity and whether it is “in difficulty”. Because of this, the government will be excluding the period from 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020 from its assessment of whether a business is in financial difficulty or not.

How can EIC help?

Here at EIC, we support big energy users with the management of their energy, buildings, carbon and compliance. As a result, we’re able to uncover actionable insights that allow you to manage and control all elements of your energy bill on both sides of the meter.

Armed with a comprehensive understanding of government schemes and legislation, we can help turn your frustrating admin into rewarding opportunities. We can navigate complex applications such as that for the EII exemption certificate – saving you valuable time and resources.

Contact us to learn more about how EIC can help your business.

The journey to and benefits of Scope 3 emissions reporting

Last year saw many businesses contending with the challenges of SECR (Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting) for the first time. 2021 does not promise any respite however and Scope 3 emissions remain a contentious issue.

What are the scopes?

Reporting on Scope 1 and 2 emissions is mandatory for many organisations. Any ‘large’ company must report if they meet the following criteria:

  • 250+ employees
  • Turnover more than £36m
  • Balance sheets totalling over £18m

As well as reporting the emissions themselves, organisations must show the steps they have taken to reduce emissions over the course of the financial year.

The key distinction between Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions is how directly they relate to your business operations. Scopes 1 and 2 concern direct emissions made by your organisation. Scope 3 takes a holistic view of business operations, including your supply chain, and how embedded carbon emissions can be reduced throughout it.

Firms have typically avoided reporting on Scope 3 emissions unless required to do so. Yet, they are missing out on a range of benefits afforded by going the extra mile in their carbon reporting.

 

End-to-end control

Conducting a robust analysis of your supply chain’s carbon emissions can provide insights that would otherwise be unavailable. Such as GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions and cost reduction opportunities that exist outside of the organisation.

Generally, sources of Scope 3 emissions provide support to your business without existing directly under your control, however, there are a couple of exceptions.

Scope 3 emissions can include:

  • Business travel
  • Employee commuting
  • Investments
  • Leased assets and franchises
  • Purchased goods and services
  • Transportation and distribution
  • Use of sold products
  • Waste disposal

While many of these represent elements of a supply chain others can be tackled more immediately. Business travel, commuting, investments, and waste disposal are all subject to the influence of your management team.

Choosing to report means you can engage with sustainability culture across all levels of your organisation. Engagement can include a ride-to-work scheme to encourage greener travel options, divestment from fossil fuels, or taking on a waste disposal contractor that can reduce both your costs and carbon emissions.

Scope 3 emissions matter on the global scale

Thinking globally

After ensuring that your in-house Scope 3 emissions are under control, it is wise to next look to your supply chain and the environmental impact of your business on a global scale.

Despite not being a direct consumer, your firm still possesses the buying power to influence the behaviour of its collaborators and the power to choose who not to collaborate with based on their carbon profile.

In addition, the data you gather in order to report may highlight potential weak points in your supply chain vulnerable to events like pandemics or climate change. Just last year, we saw Brent Crude, the international standard for oil prices, drop to zero. All because of a sudden and unforeseeable fall in demand triggered by the pandemic, and with suppliers losing millions in the process.

Assessing these factors gives you the opportunity to adjust or replace links in the chain to ensure future resilience. Since Rishi Sunak promised that the UK will be a leader in climate risk disclosure, having a strong Scope 3 dataset will help bolster the confidence of future investors.

It is likely that abiding by TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures) regulations will become mandatory for an increasing number of businesses in the future. Securing Scope 3 data now can give you a head start in the process.

Finally, an understanding of your Scope 3 emissions will empower you to choose suppliers whose priorities align with your own brand. Given that 84% of consumers in 2020 stated that being environmentally friendly is important to them, consistency in brand values is becoming more important than ever.

 

How can EIC help?

EIC offers expert guidance on a range of compliance processes including SECR for all emissions scopes, as well as consultative services for carbon management assisting routes to carbon neutrality, energy management, UK ETS, CCA, and ESOS.

We will provide you with a dedicated carbon consultant, annual and bi-annual energy and carbon reports, and we’ll completely oversee both the compliance process and any energy audits and evidence collection required.

Since we view the goal of sustainability completely, we also offer packages of complimentary services like ESOS and SECR to encourage our clients to do the same.

To find out if one of these packages might suit your organisation, and how our compliance services can work for you, get in touch.

4 Types of Carbon Offset Projects

Resource efficiency and sustainability are already integral to a business’s resiliency. All evidence points to carbon offsets becoming the next piece of the puzzle.

Climate-related policy change and litigation are on the rise across the world. It is clear that the involvement of the business sector in reducing global emissions will soon be unavoidable. This means that companies will have to take responsibility for their carbon footprint. Becoming eco-conscious will give a reputational advantage, as well as future security.

There are concerns around carbon offsets being used as a tool for “greenwashing”. This is a term used for a company masking its unethical behaviour with a green veil of traded carbon credits or PPAs. This is a valid concern, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But as we move further and faster towards a net zero economy, genuine “greenness” will carry more weight.

While there are shades of green when it comes to the carbon market, carbon offsetting projects can facilitate valuable environmental and social projects. The benefits of which can extend above and beyond the initial reduction in carbon.

How do carbon offset projects and credits work?

Every tonne of emissions reduced by an environmental project creates one carbon offset or carbon credit. Companies can invest in these projects directly or buy the carbon credits in order to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Carbon credits are tradeable on the market and can be controversial in how easy they are to attain. However, the concept is the same: a company is more or less investing in a green project in order to balance their own emissions.

 

Four main types of carbon offset projects

Forestry and Conservation

Reforestation and conservation have become very popular offsetting schemes. Credits are created based on either the carbon captured by new trees or the carbon not released through protecting old trees. These projects are based all across the world, from growing forests right here in the UK to replanting mangroves in Madagascar, to “re-wilding” the rainforests of Brazil.

Forestry projects are not the cheapest offset option, but they are often chosen for their many benefits outside of the carbon credits they offer. Protecting eco-systems, wildlife, and social heritage is significant for companies offsetting their carbon emissions for the corporate social responsibility (CSR) element.

There is some grey area in forestry offsetting. In the past, it has been difficult to distinguish just how much carbon is being reduced through forestry projects. Fortunately, thanks to emerging new technologies, methods of sustainable reforestation and calculating the benefits have greatly improved.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy offsets help to build or maintain chiefly solar, wind or hydro sites across the world. By investing in these projects, a company is boosting the amount of renewable energy on the grid, creating jobs, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, and bolstering the sector’s global growth.

Take, for example, The Bokhol Plant in Senegal. This project is one of the largest of its kind in West Africa, providing 160,000 people with access to renewable energy. It also saves the government $5 million a year and creates jobs in the region. Plus, the profits from selling carbon credits are often fed back into local community projects.

Community projects

Community projects often help to introduce energy-efficient methods or technology to undeveloped communities around the world. There are many potential benefits to these projects that far surpass carbon credits. Projects like this do not only help to make entire regions more sustainable, they can provide empowerment and independence that can lift communities out of poverty. This means that projects that were, at one time, purely philanthropic can now provide organisations with direct benefits like carbon credits.

For example, the female-led Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Ethiopia provides clean water to communities by fixing and funding long-term maintenance for boreholes. How does this reduce carbon emissions? Families will no longer have to burn firewood to boil water, which will protect local forests, prevent carbon emissions and reduce indoor smoke pollution. In addition to the health and environmental benefits, the project is managed by female-led committees that provide work to local women.

The Darfur Sudan Cookstove Project replaced traditional cooking methods like burning wood and charcoal often inside the home, with low smoke stoves in Darfur, Sudan. This works to reduce the damaging health effects and emissions of indoor smoke, as well as the impacts of deforestation. This project also employs women in the region and helps to empower women and girls who now spend less time collecting firewood and cooking.

Waste to energy

A waste to energy project often involves capturing methane and converting it into electricity. Sometimes this means capturing landfill gas, or in smaller villages, human or agricultural waste. In this way, waste to energy projects can impact communities in the same way efficient stoves or clean water can.

One such project in Vietnam is training locals to build and maintain biogas digesters which turn waste into affordable, clean and sustainable energy. This reduces the methane released into the atmosphere. And helps protect their local forests which would otherwise be depleted through sourcing firewood.

When and why are carbon offsets used?

Energy efficiency, clean energy usage, and sustainable business strategies can be very effective in reducing an organisation’s emissions. But there are various scopes to the greenhouse gas emissions that organisations must consider.

Scope 1: Direct emissions from company operations such as company vehicles or factories
Scope 2: Indirect emissions from company operations such as purchased electricity generated by fossil fuels
Scope 3: Indirect emissions from company supply chains such as shipping, business travel, and raw material extraction

Completely eliminating carbon emissions through mitigation methods is not always possible. That’s where carbon offsetting comes in.

How can EIC help reduce your carbon footprint?

It is important to take steps to reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible before considering carbon offsets. Carbon credits should certainly not be used to buy an organisation a clean conscience or create a mirage of sustainability for consumers and/or clients. Carbon offsetting is a valuable tool, and when used to supplement a company’s mitigation efforts, creates a genuinely sustainable and resilient foundation.

At EIC, we offer comprehensive energy and carbon services to help reduce our clients’ carbon footprint in a sustainable way. Our team of experts can help advise on energy efficiency, clean energy solutions, monitoring carbon emissions, and carbon credits.

To learn more about our services contact us at EIC.

Energy management: a profitable path to net zero

While the UK may be just barely climbing out of a recession, we remain in the throes of a global pandemic and on the brink of a major political separation. In the broader business environment, it seems uncertainty is the only certainty we have in the coming year. It is, therefore, vital for UK businesses to look inward for opportunities to save and survive. We look at how energy management could provide a clear path to profitability and carbon neutrality, even in hard times.

 

Waste not, want not

David Attenborough has said one thing everyone can do to help save the planet is “don’t waste anything, don’t waste electricity, don’t waste food, don’t waste power”. Unfortunately, this is more difficult than it sounds. Waste is intrinsically wrapped up in the convenience of our daily lives in small but impactful ways.

Thankfully, it’s becoming common knowledge that a wasteful life isn’t a sustainable one, and a wasteful business plan isn’t a profitable one. Since energy is one of an organisation’s largest costs, efficiency is key in building a resilient foundation for the long term success of a company.

Intelligent energy management is a holistic approach to energy optimisation, involving smart metering, identifying inefficiencies and managing energy-saving solutions. At EIC we don’t just find and fix problems, we seek out opportunities that will support sustainable growth.

Data-driven energy optimisation

The energy grid is evolving, and systems will have to adapt as we move towards a flexible energy landscape. Data-driven energy optimisation could be the key to business profitability as well as deep carbon reductions.

Gathering and understanding data through advanced metering provides insight into how energy is being used and possibly wasted. Identifying these areas of inefficiency is essential for finding solutions that reduce consumption and lower costs. This provides businesses with savings they didn’t know were there, a crucial service in uncertain times such as these.

At EIC we offer a range of services that can revolutionise your utilities. From installing sub metering and innovative lighting solutions to our next generation smart building controls. These systems integrate our clients’ critical energy systems in a single, remotely-managed platform. This means businesses can manage their buildings in real-time, saving valuable time, money, and hassle.

How can we achieve net zero through energy optimisation?

As carbon and climate change risk reporting is made mandatory for companies across the UK, reducing carbon emissions will become a top priority. Whilst carbon capture has been a large part of this conversation, energy efficiency cannot be overlooked as a powerful and cost-efficient decarbonisation tool.

“Energy efficiency is not just about saving energy, it’s about tackling economic, environmental and social issues at the same time.” – Harry Verhaar, Philips lighting

If mitigation methods such as energy efficiency were more widely adopted, they could provide stable carbon reductions across the UK. Over time, this would reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as well as future carbon capture and storage efforts. Not to mention carbon offsets and credits which have their varying degrees of ‘greenness’.

This isn’t to say that capturing carbon won’t have a pivotal part to play in decarbonisation. But these methods can’t be solely relied upon as a silver bullet. Especially not when there are mitigation methods that offer businesses sustainable savings and future economic stability.

The whole package

At EIC we offer comprehensive sustainable energy management. Our goal is to completely optimise our clients’ energy usage, going beyond monitoring and finding sustainable, cost-efficient solutions. These services include green energy procurement and exploring decentralised energy options such as onsite solar generation and battery storage.

Generating your own renewable energy supplies in tandem with battery storage can significantly cut your emissions. As well as generate additional revenue through Demand Side Response (DSR) schemes.

We can also help maximise your CO2 savings and simplify the compliance process so that you don’t get tied up in tricky legislation.

“In this next phase of the energy and carbon markets’ evolution, it will be imperative for UK businesses to get ahead of the legislative curve to maintain and drive profitability. This will mean adopting energy management solutions that pair upstream procurement strategies with downstream optimisation and sustainability strategies.” – Luke McPake, Director of Sales at EIC

Transforming your wider energy strategy to encompass not only efficiency but self-sufficiency will become vital in a recovering economy. And reducing waste of any kind will also be vital in protecting a healing planet. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a sustainable future for your organisation.

Climate risk disclosure and the new green bond

Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak and the FCA announced that climate risk disclosure would become mandatory for many of the UK’s largest organisations by 2025. As part of the announcement, Sunak also revealed a new green bond designed to stimulate sustainable growth and reinforce Britain’s position as a global green finance centre. We explore what these two developments mean for UK businesses and how best to prepare.

Doubling down

Climate risk disclosure describes a voluntary process whereby large organisations would assess how the effects of global warming could influence their practices and success in the near-midterm future.

The purpose of these disclosures is to better prepare both companies and their investors for unforeseen circumstances due to climate change. On Monday, Rishi Sunak announced a roadmap that would see these disclosures become mandatory for a wide range of organisation types.

This roadmap dictates that the fulfillment of new criteria will arrive gradually over the next five years. The FCA will publish the first set of rules at the end of 2021.

The FCA’s decision most immediately affects financial institutions with a premium listing. It will foster investor confidence as the UK tries to rebuild its economy. Banks, building societies, insurance companies, and occupational pension schemes worth more than £5bn are among the types of organisations affected. They will be expected to provide their reports by late 2022.

The roadmap then stipulates how these requirements will be extended across other sectors leading up to 2025.

The UK is the first G20 country to introduce mandatory climate disclosure and it’s an interesting gambit from the FCA. Obviously, the hope is that investors will recognise the long-term risk of climate change and that the shift will bolster their confidence in UK finance.

If this is the case, the disclosures will advertise the UK as a financing powerhouse despite climate change uncertainties.

“Mandating climate disclosure in alignment with the TCFD recommendations will increase the critical mass of data needed by investors and other stakeholders to accelerate measurement and management of a broad set of environmental issues…”

-Paul Simpson, chief executive of CDP

As climate risk increases, we must prepare to weather the storm

Green funding and future intelligence

Unlike mandatory climate risk disclosure, green bonds are not a new concept. The UK will be following countries like Germany and Sweden in opening this new avenue for green investment.

The bond becomes available in 2021 as a part of the government Covid-19 stimulus package. The announcement came after vocal support from a group of major UK investors. Collectively, the 30 individuals that lent support for a green bond manage over £10 trillion in assets.

Sunak also announced that the UK would deliver a universal framework for determining the sustainability of different economic activities. The intention is to create objective criteria to judge which projects should be deemed appropriate to benefit from the bond.

The takeaway from both these announcements is that the value of data on carbon emissions and usage continues to grow. Current plans for disclosure only include financial institutions. However, the momentum of action on climate change suggests that more and more companies will need to disclose.

Our metering service can help you build interactive reports on energy usage, as well as identify areas for improvement. Our energy management services include procurement expertise as well as guidance on carbon compliance schemes that can maximise the value of any current or future metering technology you may invest in.

Active engagement with your carbon footprint and its reduction demonstrates a commitment to mitigate climate risk to would-be investors. For further information on these services get in touch.

 

 

Carbon Neutral: the newest Climate Change war cry

In 2019 EU leaders endorsed the European Commission’s Green Deal, a strategy through which to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Since then there’s been a slow but steady rise in legislation around, and investment in, renewable energy, low carbon solutions and, more recently, carbon sequestration and storage. The objective has recently been embraced by other global leaders, with recent 2050 pledges from Japan and South Korea. Even China has announced a net zero commitment by 2060.

We break down what carbon neutral means, why it is crucial in the fight against climate change, and how we can achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

What does carbon neutral mean?

When we hear the word carbon, we often think of something harmful that needs getting rid of, which isn’t entirely accurate. Carbon, after all, is a part of all living things, and there is a natural cycle that balances the carbon emitted with the carbon absorbed by plants and soil.

The problem is that humans have disrupted this balance by emitting more carbon than can be absorbed. Through the use of fossil fuels, the deforestation of rainforests, massive population growth, overfishing, and harmful agricultural developments, we are essentially poisoning our planet.

Carbon neutral means there’s a balance between carbon emissions and absorption, so to achieve this we have to emit less and absorb more. This can be done through the adoption of renewable energy, carbon sequestration, reforestation projects, and regenerative farming practices. This holistic approach to fighting climate change could put us on a path towards a more sustainable future.

What it means for the energy industry

Achieving carbon neutrality will require action from all sectors of the economy, the most important being the energy industry. Energy production and use is currently responsible for 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Large-scale policy will play a large part in propelling the necessary transformation across the energy industry in order to cut and even capture carbon emissions. However, it will take action from every sector within the energy industry, from buildings being made more energy efficient to our energy sources themselves.

This will mean more commitments to renewable energy options in the UK, more efficient utility monitoring and management, as well as improved energy storage options. We will have to move towards an integrated, flexible energy system that exploits local resources and reduces our reliance on imported oil and gas. There are also recent advancements in carbon sequestration and storage that can be joined with energy generation itself which can make zero or low carbon energy options carbon negative.

As with any sector, change in the energy industry requires action on the parts of everyone who produces, invests in, or consumes energy. Every building and organisation can make a difference, and EIC can help.

 

How EIC is working towards Carbon Neutral

Major changes have to be made in every sector of the economy, from the food we grow to the way we travel. We at EIC are doing everything we can to support the changes needed within the energy industry. By helping organisations monitor and reduce their carbon footprints, navigating tricky compliance legislation, and advising on green energy procurement options, we are simplifying sustainability for businesses.

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme: Time running out

The launch of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme last week presents an opportunity for public sector organisations to reduce their emissions using government funding. Organisations should begin formulating applications now to have the best chance of being funded.

Subsidising Energy Efficiency

Salix Finance is backing the scheme and it combines two major funds. First, the Capital Grant Scheme (CGS) aims to support heat and electricity decarbonisation efforts in certain public sector buildings. The second will help create thousands of jobs within the green development sector.

Under the CGS, public sector bodies can apply for financing for up to 100% of the costs of capital energy-saving projects fitting certain criteria. The criteria are split into four categories, which, in tandem, take a holistic view of decarbonising building heating.

This scheme will act as a non-domestic version of the Green Homes Grant, helping to address the carbon footprint of heating in UK commerce and public bodies.

Since applications to the fund will be subject to Salix’ discretion, organisations must have a robust understanding of their current energy expenses as well as accurate means to estimate the savings they stand to make.

The technologies supported by CGS are all focused on driving down the CO2 emitted in building heating. Naturally, low-carbon heating solutions like heat pumps and heat networks are deemed eligible.

Technology able to reduce heat demand or offset energy from the National grid also qualifies. Solar PV, battery storage, and metering systems fall under this category.

Window closing fast

Organisations can use this fund to subsidise the cost of external support for decarbonisation projects in a variety of ways. This includes the employment of technical expertise in putting together applications for the fund, support for project delivery, and guidance on creating a long-term decarbonisation plan.

However, applications must be submitted by the 11th of January and any planned projects delivered by the end of March 2021. Organisations should take this timeline into account when considering the scale of any project they wish to undertake.

Four months is a considerably small window for an infrastructural overhaul. That means organisations with a decarbonisation framework already in place will have a head start over those that don’t.

However, that is all moot unless applications are in before the deadline in just over ten weeks’ time. It is important to note that the scheme has been open since September 30th and that there is no ceiling on how much of the fund individual projects can apply for.

£1bn might sound like a lot, but it is still finite and approvals are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Organisations are already in a race against time and will want to start approaching sustainability specialists as soon as possible.

At EIC, our 360° Strategic Review offers a variety of channels through which you can boost your decarbonisation efforts. Key amongst these is a focus on implementing appropriate infrastructure for your organisation. A comprehensive solution that includes sub-metering, lighting solutions, on-site solar generation and CHP.

For further information on how we can support your decarbonisation journey, contact us.

 

 

 

 

ESOS Phase 2 Compliance – Act Now

While it may seem like a costly and time-intensive process, there are financial opportunities and benefits to be found in this mandatory scheme.

In Phase 1 of ESOS, we at EIC identified a total of 527GWh worth of energy savings for our clients, equivalent to £49 million in cost savings. If you act now, you could avoid fines of £90,000 and reap the rewards of a new green plan.

What is ESOS?

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is a mandatory compliance scheme in the UK, derived from Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. ESOS’s aim was to reduce EU energy consumption by 20% by the end of 2020. ESOS occurs in four-yearly phases and introduces regular energy audits that highlight energy savings for large businesses.

Who needs to comply?

Public bodies are not affected. Large organisations that must comply are classified as those with:

  • More than 250 employees or
  • A turnover of more than £50 million and an annual balance sheet total of more than £43 million

ESOS Phase 2 Updates

The ESOS deadline for Phase 2 was 5 December 2019. Any qualifying organisations who did not complete their assessment and submit a compliance notification by the deadline are at risk of enforcement action. Penalties issued in Phase 1 for compliance failures ranged up to £45,000 with a potential maximum fine of £90,000.

Compliance Notices

ESOS Regulators are currently issuing compliance notices to all UK corporate groups who they believe should have participated but haven’t yet received a notification of completion from.

If you receive this, you must inform the regulators whether you are:

  • in the process of completing your compliance, or
  • provide evidence you have already submitted your notification, or
  • advise that you do not qualify for ESOS

ESOS Submissions

You can find a published list of all businesses who have made a submission via the ESOS notification system as of 1 February 2020 here.

Further evaluation of the effectiveness of energy audits and ESOS can be found here.

business analysis with colleagues

ESOS Support

If you need urgent support with your Phase 2 compliance, talk to EIC today. Our dedicated team of ESOS Lead Assessors and highly-trained Energy Auditors will work hard to help you comply as soon as possible, and support you in any conversations with the Environment Agency.

After ESOS Compliance

It’s vital that you don’t let your compliance go to waste. ESOS aims to highlight where companies can make energy improvements, cut wastage and lower costs, use these opportunities to improve your operations and make significant energy savings. The most common areas for energy savings are lighting, energy management through smarter energy procurement, metering, monitoring and controls, and air conditioning.

Reach out

Whether it’s ESOS, SECR, or CCA, EIC will work with you to reach compliance deadlines and targets. Talk to EIC on 01527 511 757 or email info@eic.co.uk if you need any further advice on ESOS or SECR. We’re here to help.

Paying our way: Carbon reporting during lockdown

A spike in people working from home has meant huge savings on building costs for many businesses. However, new calls for carbon reporting to account for the increase in domestic emissions could catch business leaders by surprise.

Public cost, private loss

Due to new and continued lockdown restrictions, 60% of the UK workforce is now performing their roles from home. As a result, commercial enterprises are making significant savings in building utility usage, especially on heating, cooling, and lighting.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that coin is that their employees are now footing larger bills at home. In fact, due to a combination of increased home occupation, and dropping temperatures, energy bills across the country are expected to rise dramatically this winter.

“Energyhelpline.com has predicted a full-time working household will spend an extra £107 on energy due to increased working from home, so it’s important that consumers are on the lowest energy tariff before the cold weather starts to bite.”

Victoria Arrington, spokesperson for Energy Helpline

A recent Carbon Trust report shows that more than 70% of businesses believe that the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a greater emphasis on sustainability initiatives. While corporate social responsibility is clearly increasing, the effect of lockdown on carbon emissions is unprecedented and therefore raises some questions.

As Rishi Sunak’s Green Homes Grant has demonstrated, the energy efficiency of UK housing is sorely lacking. However, there have been new calls for corporate carbon reporting that accounts for the emissions of those working at home. This could force businesses to pick up the tab.

“The coronavirus changes the way we work, so naturally it changes the way companies impact the climate… Firms across the UK must now adjust to this, and we must change the rules on how we report company emissions.”

Amit Gudka, Bulb

Log showing ants carrying leaves

Carbon reporting: Over or under

Bulb released a warning to businesses back in June, stating that nearly half a million tonnes of CO2 equivalent may go unreported due to employees working from home.

Ecoact has released a free-source white paper containing formulae for calculating the relative carbon emissions of homeworking. However, this is based on the average expense calculation from Ofgem findings over the past two years.

The problem is that they do not account for the wild variations between corporate and domestic building energy efficiency. As such, they provide an incomplete picture of actual commercial energy usage. The danger is that they may misplace responsibility for some of its costs.

Since the conditions of lockdown are so novel, legislation governing these missing carbon emissions has yet emerged. Will the Climate Change Levy (CCL) take notice for example?

The answer, for now, is unclear. What is obvious though is that commercial firms are on borrowed time to establish a clear data set that can protect them from overpaying for inefficiency that isn’t their responsibility.

The combination of smart metres and a comprehensive invoicing history would be one way to ensure such security. Equipped with this data, businesses could calculate the relative difference in energy consumption pre and post lockdown conditions.

Once a record is established, businesses can then make a case for not paying beyond their normal emissions costs.

Carbon reporting with EIC

EIC provides a comprehensive energy management service that includes Metering and Invoice Validation solutions. Our sub-metering technology allows you to create dynamic and comprehensive reports of your current consumption patterns.

These reports provide a comparative baseline to measure your historic consumption against. Our team can then analyse and validate your records, carrying out over 200 energy checks to guarantee accuracy.

A final word on the CCL, while mandates surrounding work from home emissions remain vague, the CCA still presents an opportunity to save on your own emissions. However, the deadline for new applications is closing fast, and some trade associations require submissions up to four weeks in advance.

Fortunately, EIC also specialises in climate legislation like the CCA and can provide end-to-end guidance and support from the initial submission to evidence collection.

To find out which of these services you can benefit from, get in touch.