Carbon offsetting still a vital issue for UK businesses - Inteb

Carbon offsetting still a vital issue for UK businesses


With a whole new light being thrown on energy consumption as coronavirus continues to make its impact on every aspect of our daily lives, one issue remains constant – that there are still challenges facing targets for net zero carbon emissions.


Thanks – if that’s the right word – to Covid-19, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen dramatically as the world tries to halt its spread by reductions in industry production and by travel restrictions.

Compared with this time last year, pollution levels in New York have gone down by almost half because of measures there to contain the virus and satellite images are showing nitrogen dioxide emissions fading over Northern Italy, with similar stories playing out in Spain and the UK. In more than 300 cities across China, the seat of the virus, the proportion of days with good quality air has been reported as being more than 11 per cent up on this time in 2019.

Alongside falling carbon emissions, economic activity in many sectors is almost coming to a standstill – the opposite effect of a drive towards a decarbonised and sustainable economy that’s been top of the UK’s business agenda for many years.

On a more positive front, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is currently predicting that the global economy will still grow in 2020, albeit by half because of coronavirus. However, even with this recovery, this year may only see a drop in worldwide emissions of 0.3 per cent.

For this reason, we can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that, once things get back to normal – however long this takes – the issues of tackling carbon emissions will once again become a priority. They will become a major concern for businesses operating in the commercial office sector where energy demand is being recommended to achieve an average reduction of 60 per cent by 2050.

Business responsibiltiy

Following on – and to face a net zero target – is the country’s retail industry with other sectors to follow in measures and deadlines set by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

So now is time for businesses – as much as is possible – to adopt an optimistic look at the future and, although there’s very little good news around at the moment, formulate action plans for carbon offsetting and confirm their commitment to being environmentally responsible.

The reality is that the greatest impact businesses can have on their energy consumption measures is the reduction route – starting now with programmes of good energy efficiency practices to develop specific energy performance targets.

Later this month, on April 22, it’s Earth Day 2020 with its theme of climate action. Global emissions may have been lowered in recent weeks – but the result has been achieved in a catastrophic way no one could ever have foreseen.

Hopefully, before too much longer, the wheels of industry and commerce will once again begin to turn and re-open economic pathways so that vital work can begin again to address carbon offsetting and protect the planet.

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