Two-thirds of big businesses still in the dark about ESOS

Ed Davey may well believe that the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) will accelerate the UK's green growth, but a new survey has revealed that just 33% of big businesses are aware of the impending energy efficiency regulation.

The survey – conducted on 100 firms with more than 1000 employees by green tech solutions company Verismic – discovered a surprisingly low awareness of the mandatory scheme, which will soon require all large companies to produce detailed reports on their energy use and efficiency, or risk being fined.

Almost all of the responding businesses (96%) said the Government needs to do more to raise awareness of ESOS, which was as low as 24% among firms operating in the retail, distribution and transport sector. Firms in this sector also had the lowest awareness of ESOS financial penalties for non-compliance versus other sectors – with 67% unaware they are at risk of a fine of up to £50,000 and being publicly named for non-compliance.

Of all sectors surveyed, financial services had the highest awareness of ESOS, but this was still only 40% of respondents. 

Risk awareness

It was just last week that Energy and Climate Change Secretary Davey was promoting the business benefits of ESOS, with the Lib Dem MP also insisting that a regulatory approach to improving the nation’s energy efficiency is the right one.

Davey said the implementation of the mandatory scheme for all large businesses is ‘completely necessary’ and will have an ‘important impact’ on the UK’s energy future, despite some aspects of the scheme overlapping with similar efficiency regulations such as mandatory carbon reporting and the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

But independent certification body BM Trada agrees with this report’s findings that a substantial number of the UK’s 10,000 ‘large undertakings’ may not be aware of the risks associated with non-compliance.

BM Trada’s chief operating officer Vic Bowen said: “The clock is ticking on ESOS. Despite this, it seems that a significant proportion of larger businesses and organisations are still in the dark about the scheme, whether they qualify and what their legal responsibilities are if they do.”

ISO 50001

Bowen added that achieving ISO 50001 certification could be a more cost-effective route to compliance and one that offers organisations more benefits.

“Full ISO 50001 certification is deemed to satisfy ESOS, but also brings many other benefits with it,” he said. “These include reinforcing good energy management practice throughout the business, with an associated reduction in energy costs through better energy efficiency. Certification will also help increase stakeholder confidence, brand reputation and new business opportunities.”

The deadline to report energy usage under the ESOS scheme is set for 5 December, 2015. Read more about ESOS in each of the links below

Luke Nicholls

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