U.K. Businesses Work to Avoid Carbon 'Shame'

U.K. Businesses Work to Avoid Carbon 'Shame'

Some large United Kingdom businesses are trying to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to avoid being named and shamed by the government ahead of new climate change cap-and-trade system, the Times reported.

Less carbon-intensive companies and organizations not included in the European Union Emission Trading Scheme but with electricity expenditures of £500,000 (US$765,631) a year or more must participate in the Carbon Reduction Commitment beginning in 2010. The government will publish companies' performance and rank, while the largest emitters will have to pay heftier fines.

According to the Times, transport company Stagecoach, retailer Matalan and gaming company Gala Coral have each tapped Spice, a utility services group, to track and cut their emissions.

Spice's Inenco division has seen a "flood of inquiries" from businesses trying to head off the costs and reputational risk of not addressing their carbon footprints, Simon Rigby, Spice's chief executive, told the Times.

More than 5,000 private and public organizations will participate in the smaller scale cap-and-trade scheme, including schools and hospitals. Emissions measurement will begin in April.

Last week, the government passed the Climate Change, Energy and Planning Bills to help transition the U.K. to a low-carbon economy. The country adopted legally binding targets of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050 and introduce five annual carbon budgets detailing how emissions cuts will be met.