Compliance: expensive red tape or genuine opportunity to do things better? - Inteb

Compliance: expensive red tape or genuine opportunity to do things better?


With the UK’s legally-binding commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, every business across the country, at one point or another, will have to comply with reducing the amount of carbon they produce.

At present, many large companies and landlords are legally required to report their environmental performance through one or more compliance assessment schemes. These schemes include:

  • Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), which is mandatory for all large UK companies, LLPs and quoted companies.
  • Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), which rate the energy efficiency of a building. Privately rented properties are required by law to meet a minimum environmental standard, and landlords may not grant tenancies in commercial buildings that do not meet these standards.

It is only a matter of time before all companies are required to report their environmental performance. But is this all just expensive red tape and box-ticking? Or a genuine opportunity to do things better?

The cost of reaching net-zero for business owners

The pandemic has already hit businesses hard, with many closing their doors for good. As a result, many companies might argue that the expense of reducing their emissions isn’t worth it. They may also decide that it is not a priority and can be put off until a later date due to more pressing needs and the costs involved, including:

Energy performance

  • Energy auditing, which helps to identify immediate solutions within the workplace
  • Switching to renewable energy suppliers or adding capacity for renewable energy equipment at the business premises
  • Replacing lighting with energy-saving LEDs
  • Installing insulation
  • Replacing fossil fuel systems with renewable heat and/or cooling system alternatives


  • Recruiting a responsible waste management company for disposing of recyclable and non-recyclable materials, avoiding landfill wherever possible
  • identifying and sourcing products from net-zero specialist companies
  • Investing in water recycling systems and low-flow plumbing solutions


  • Conversion of company car fleet to electric vehicles (EVs)
  • Investing in cycle to work incentive schemes and subsidising public transport

Emission offsetting

compliance solar farm

These are all positive steps towards reducing carbon emissions, but can come at a significant cost to the company. It follows that the bigger the company, the bigger the cost. But it is important to note that it is also the case that the later the change comes, the greater the costs will be. The UK Government estimates that costs associated with carbon emissions will be £70/tCO2 by 2030, but upwards of £200/tCO2 by 2050.

The benefits of compliance

While the initial outlay may seem steep, the benefits of compliance can quickly be seen within a business. The major benefit is a reduction in energy bills thanks to reduced energy usage. Costs associated with waste and resource management will also fall, and together these three areas of cost reduction can save a serious amount of money over time. Another major financial benefit could come in the future, with the UK reportedly considering implementing a direct carbon tax. While this is not in place currently, complying with carbon reduction now could save money further down the line.

Complying with mandatory carbon standards such as SECR also aligns a company more closely with many voluntary standards, such as ISO 50001. Initial compliance with mandatory standards therefore allows a company to very quickly and easily build a catalogue of certifications and increase their environmental credentials. This in turn may allow a company to become an industry leader in sustainability, generating positive PR and convincing prospective employees and investors alike that your company is one that they would be happy to work with.

Compliance, is it worth it?

Put simply: Yes.

Complying with national and international environmental standards will save you money, boost your public image and put you ahead of your competition. It will also make things a lot easier in the long run – you won’t be hit with crushing costs and shrinking timescales the closer we get to the 2050 deadline.

The initial outlay on putting systems and equipment in place might feel like a waste of money. Or an expenditure you don’t need. But the contracts you’ll lose, negative PR you’ll receive and good staff you’ll turn off by not taking sustainability seriously will leave you wishing you really had done.

Let Inteb help you with your compliance

Our experts can help you set achievable targets and put a framework in place to meet your net-zero targets.  So, if you need a hand implementing a strategy. Or you don’t know where to start, Inteb will work with you to put it in place across your business.

And for extra peace of mind, we’ve achieved accreditation to the FutureNetZero standard to record and review our own carbon footprint to reduce emissions across three areas:

  • Travel
  • Energy consumption
  • Waste

Which means we’re able to give accurate and practical advice to organisations wanting to start their journey to net-zero.

Need help with your compliance?

Let’s get the conversation started – call us now on 0151 601 3476