The Energy Transitions Committee (ETC), comprised of representatives from industrial and energy sectors, have concluded that industry does have the capacity to reduce emissions and help to combat climate change.
Heavy industrial sectors like steel, chemicals, cement, aluminium, and aviation face some of the largest challenges in cutting their carbon emissions. These sectors account for almost one third of total global CO2 emissions, with the amounts still increasing, just as other sectors are working hard to decrease their emissions.
However, the latest ETC report demonstrates optimism that it is both practical and affordable to get their emissions down to near zero by the middle of next century, and that emissions can be eradicated at a cost of <1% of global GDP. To achieve this aim, the ETC recommends:
Elmhurst Energy Consultancy believes it is positive to see such reports being widely published and the industrial emissions being considered an urgent problem. However, we emphasise that for businesses to understand how they can reduce their emissions, the energy use and emissions need to be measured and monitored – ‘what gets measured, gets managed’.
There are numerous ways in which businesses can measure, manage and improve their energy use, including:
ESOS : The Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme, a mandatory government scheme which requires large businesses meeting the criteria of either 250 employees or an annual turnover in excess of €50 million and an annual balance sheet total in excess of €43 million, to complete four yearly audits on their energy use and disclose evidence to the Environment Agency. The scheme forms part of a wider effort to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050, aims to help businesses recognise the areas in which their energy use is highest and provides a series of recommendations which should reduce energy use and create substantial cost savings to the businesses. The scheme is presented as phases, and Phase 2 is now underway. Companies who meet the qualifying criteria have until 5th December 2019 to prove their compliance.
Carbon Reporting: Since 2013, all quoted companies in the UK have been mandated to report on their scope 1 and 2 emissions in their annual reports. From April 2019, the scope of companies included in this mandatory legislation is to be extended to all ‘large companies’ with at least 250 employees or annual turnover greater than £36m and annual balance sheet total greater than £18m. This means that the number of companies needing to report on their emissions will rise from just over 1000 to over 11,000. The new reporting framework comes off the back of longitudinal studies over the past 5 years, which found that when companies were mandated to disclose their emissions on a yearly basis, stakeholder and investor pressure from public disclosure drove down emissions, and it is hoped this will continue.
ISO50001: The ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems/ standard is an industry recognised framework that supports commercial facilities, industrial facilities and entire organisations in using their energy more efficiently. Successful implementation of ISO 50001 will provide a robust framework for organisations to continually improve energy performance and reduce costs. It achieves this by outlining the best energy management practices from around the world. ISO 50001 can provide organisations with more control over the way they use energy and how they manage the related costs more effectively. It is particularly beneficial for organisations with significant energy expenditure. Achieving ISO 50001 certification automatically demonstrates compliance with the government's Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), without the need for an additional ESOS assessment, so reduces the costs of complying with ESOS.
Over time, if business operations continue as usual, energy costs will continue to rise, energy security in the UK will become more at risk, and costs associated with combating climate change and pollution will rise, and it is very likely that the UK and international businesses will bear the brunt of these costs. Therefore, the costs of investing in measuring, managing and reducing energy use are likely to be minimal investments and will help to ensure longevity and sustainability of businesses.
Elmhurst Energy Consultancy have over 25 years’ experience, and are well placed to assist in ESOS, Carbon Reporting, ISO50001, and other methods of Energy Management. Please visit our website to find out more.