The guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Energy and Climate Change is intended to help organisations measure carbon emissions and set targets to cut them.

Environment secretary, Hilary Benn, said: “Businesses have an opportunity to lead the way on the UK’s climate change agenda and this guidance helps them do that.

“Measuring your GHG emissions is an important first step in addressing the UK’s contribution to the UK’s total emissions.

“By reducing them, organisations can save money on energy costs and resource efficiencies as well as maintaining a competitive edge through strengthening their green credentials.”

The UK is committed to cutting total GHG emissions by at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050 under the Climate Change Act 2008.

Businesses produce a major amount of the country’s GHG emissions and the government says they have a “direct role” in helping meet the target.

The guidance is aimed at all businesses sizes and includes public and voluntary not-for-profit organisations.

Energy minister Joan Ruddock said: “Measuring emissions is fundamental to our understanding of climate change and a vital first step towards managing carbon impacts.

“Businesses will play a vital part in the UK’s move to a low carbon future and this guidance will enable organisations to identifying their emissions and work towards reducing them saving energy and money.

“We are committed to setting UK businesses on a course to combating climate change that will inspire other nations to take the same action.”

Commenting on the guidance partner in consultants Deloitte, Cindy Cahill, said: “This is a very important step for the UK government to take and will give clarity on moving the carbon agenda forward. It will also make the UK a leader in the new carbon economy.

“No doubt achieving these guidelines will be challenging, however it will give businesses much needed clarity and therefore a competitive advantage.

“While the new guidance is voluntary, many organisations will find benefit in adopting the recommendations. Businesses’ customers, employees and investors’ interest in their greenhouse gas emissions continues to grow.

“Combined with the forthcoming Carbon Reduction Commitment (a mandatory emissions trading scheme for larger organisations commencing in April), measuring your carbon footprint is set to quickly rise up the corporate agenda.”

To read the guidance click here.

David Gibbs

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