Shops buy into carbon cutting

UK RETAILERS claim they are leading the way in reducing their carbon emissions, despite opening more stores and expanding their operations.

Reacting to the start of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said retailing is well placed to deal with the new environmental regulations.

Retailers would build on action they were already delivering to tackle climate change, including a 17 per cent energy efficiency improvements between 2005 and 2009 through the BRC’s Better Retailing Climate commitments, it claimed.

Under the new Government rules, all companies having annual electricity bills of more than �500,000 must sign up to the CRC programme.It requires firms to collect information on their carbon emissions during the first year and using nthe information to buy allowances depending on how much carbon dioxide they expect to produce.

The responsibility for paying the CRC contributions lies with whoever pays the energy bills. For retailers who own their stores this is relatively straightforward, but it is less clear for retail tenants. The scheme lacks clarity in dealing with what proportion of the CRC bills retail tenants should pay, and what amount their landlords should.

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The BRC believes both groups should be working together to increase energy efficiencies – sharing the obligations and benefits.

Stephen Robertson, BRC Director General, said: “The Government has set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions by 2020 and retailing is playing an important role in helping them achieve this. Many retailers are already delivering major carbon reductions and the first zero carbon store opened at the end of last year.”

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n FRIENDS of the Earth is calling for all local councils to be given a “carbon budget” limiting the climate-changing pollution their area can emit to ensure that they play their part in meeting UK carbon reduction targets

The call followed publication of the plans of each Government department to reduce carbon emissions.

Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “Getting every major Government department to set out how it will tackle climate change is a significant development - slashing carbon dioxide emissions must be at the heart of policy making.

“But current UK carbon targets are inadequate - the Government must base its action on the latest climate science and agree to cut emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020, and achieve it without offsetting.

“Ministers must also take steps to ensure local councils play their part too - each one should have a carbon budget.”

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