Carbon Trust standard will encourage firms to make genuine improvements rather than use carbon offsetting

The Carbon Trust today launched a new standard to encourage firms to reduce their carbon footprint through direct emission cuts.

The standard recognises only actual cuts in emissions, rather than use of carbon offsetting, and will help consumers identify firms with genuine green credentials.

It should encourage more firms to take building-related routes to addressing their emissions, such as improving insulation.

The Carbon Trust launched the benchmark in response to growing public mistrust of companies’ claims to be going green.

Woodland carbon off-setting

Firms often simply pay a third party to offset their emissions by investing in renewable energy or tree planting, rather than making real cuts themselves, but the scheme will not recognise such efforts.

The standard is underpinned by three rules: measurement, management and reduction of the carbon footprint. To pass, firms must have quantified their carbon footprint and show that they are reducing it over time through the application of appropriate policies and governance.

Twelve organisations have already been awarded the Carbon Trust standard – six companies and six public bodies, including B&Q, King’s College London, Morrisons, the London Fire Brigade and Thames Water.

The standard covers only direct emissions such as those from fuel and electricity use and business travel, not those caused by a firm’s products or supply chain.