Prince Charles calls on companies to cut carbon

The Prince of Wales is urging business, voluntary groups and public sector organisations to put environmental issues at the core of their activities and report clearly and consistently on their performance.

Prince Charles, who features on the Environment Agency's recently published list of top 100 eco-heroes for his support of organic farming and other green issues, launched the Accounting for Sustainability project at St James's Palace last week.

The project aims to encourage regular, high quality environmental reporting, often lacking from even the best-intentioned of organisations, and on a practical level will develop a range of measures to help them embed sustainability into their decision-making processes.

Charles plans to put his money where his mouth is, with his organic food company Duchy Originals already beginning to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions produced during the growth, production and distribution of its products.

The company is now considering how this information might be made available to consumers. The Prince hopes that more businesses might follow this lead.

Next year, in his annual review, The Prince of Wales will publish details of his own carbon footprint and set a target to reduce substantially the carbon emissions of his Office and Household.

While, as heir to the throne, frequent flier and owner of a number of substantial properties the Prince's personal footprint might be expected to be bigger than most, he made it clear at the launch that he plans to take steps to reduce his carbon emissions.

Changes might include less reliance on private planes and helicopters and more use of public flights and trains, as well as switching all his official Jaguars to biodiesel.

London staff will be provided with bicycles instead of cars and steps will be taken to improve energy efficiency at his country homes.

Sir Michael Peat, the Prince's principal private secretary, said: "The Prince of Wales has said that climate change is the greatest challenge to face mankind and he has asked what our children and grandchildren will say when they look back and assess what we did about it, in the light of what we know now.

"There is clearly a growing awareness of the need to preserve the environment and considerable strategic commitment from many organisations to do so.

"We hope that this project, working with a range of organisations, will develop the kind of practical mechanisms that will enable managers to translate this strategic commitment and vision into operational reality."

The Accounting for Sustainability Project will see work carried out in several areas:

  • A model and methodology to enable managers to take greenhouse gas emission and other sustainability issues into account more effectively when making, for example, procurement, product design and building decisions. This work will include joint studies with participating companies in the food, construction and investment sectors.

  • The project will also consider how the reporting of sustainability information can be clearer, verifiable and more consistent, both in formal reporting and on the labelling and packaging of products.

  • Building on the success of cap and trade schemes for carbon and other emissions, the project will consider ways in which cap and trade schemes can be extended further.

  • The project might consider the idea of a kite mark system for companies which voluntarily adopt better accounting for sustainability. The certification would help shareholders and consumers identify organisations that are following emerging best practice.

    Further details of the project can be found on its website, which went live following the launch, at

    Sam Bond

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