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High street names ranked for carbon reduction

Ofgem and Center Parcs better than energy firms

Major supermarkets, shops, hospitals, government departments and councils have been ranked according to what they have done to measure energy use.

The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy (CRC) Efficiency Scheme is the UK’s first mandatory carbon trading scheme aiming to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. 

It is compulsory for all public and private organisations that use over a certain amount of electricity (6,000 MWh – approximately £500,000 per year). These organisations represent around 10% of the UK’s emissions.

Energy regulators top the chart

There are 22 organisations sharing the top spot, including energy watchdog Ofgem and the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Manchester United football club and Center Parcs also shared the top spot.

Energy companies did less well. Scottish Power was the best-performing major energy company, coming in at position 27. Scottish Power is followed by Eon (101), Npower (127), British Gas parent company Centrica (229), SSE (266) and EDF Energy (330).

The highest scoring-supermarket chain is Asda (37), which was trailed by quite some way by Iceland, which as the lowest-scoring supermarket came in at 1097.

The Greater London Authority (34) scored the highest of all local authorities. 

Carbon reduction

Participants in the CRC need to measure and report their carbon emissions annually, following a specific set of measurement rules. 

Starting in 2012, participants will buy allowances from the government each year to cover their emissions in the previous year. This means that organisations that decrease their emissions can lower their costs under the CRC.

Each year the information provided by the organisations is compiled in a performance league table which is available publicly. 

Limited use

Which? energy expert Sylvia Baron says: ‘As this is the first year CRC results have been published, the figures are only of limited use as they do not yet take into account how well an organisation has managed to reduce its carbon emissions, and is only based on any early action the organisations took in preparation for the scheme. However, the league table is still useful for checking how much carbon a supermarket chain or your council is emitting because it does list the actual emissions.

‘Next year’s table will be more representative of the actual performance of organisations in reducing their carbon emissions. It would also be useful to see the table presented by sector so that similar organisations can be compared – for example all supermarkets placed together.’

Over 2,000 organisations are listed in the table. The full table can be seen on the Environment Agency website.

How companies are ranked

The CRC performance table is based on the performance of the participants in three areas.

  • Absolute emissions – the percentage of carbon emissions reduction compared to the previous year.
  • Growth – the percentage reduction in other carbon emissions per unit of turnover, aiming to recognise the growth of companies.
  • Early action metrics – early action initiatives made by the organisation before April 2011. Made up of two activities: the percentage of the organisation’s electricity and gas supplies that is covered by voluntary automatic meter readings (AMR) and the proportion of the CRC emissions certified under the Carbon Trust Standard or equivalent scheme.

This year, only the third measure (early action metric) counted towards the league table, so this year’s table has limitations to what it actually shows and is not a true representation of the organisations’ carbon reduction. Future league tables will be based on participant’s efforts to improve their energy efficiency. Their early action will have a diminished weighting each year, with metrics based on company growth and absolute emissions changes taking more prevalence.

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