They aren’t making this Net Zero thing easy

4th Nov 2019

 

As you know, EUA is a small not-for-profit organisation and we pride ourselves in running a tight ship but also trying to punch above our weight influencing energy policy.

We also operate ethically. We source Fairtrade products; we are Living Wage Accredited; we have signed up to the Prompt Payment Code. Now I want to go carbon neutral, showing a commitment to achieve Net Zero ourselves so that we can be credible when discussing Net Zero policy for the UK. But boy do some people make life difficult. 

In doing the right thing, I approached a well-known body to make sure that our carbon neutral status would be credible and carry the accreditation for proof. That’s where I hit an obstacle, the siren sounded when they referred to their “commercial section”. 

My professional background is a “bean-counter”, so I’m more than comfortable accounting for the EUA carbon emissions – gas and electric; travel; events we host. I can devise an audit of these. I’m also happy to pull together a plan to reduce carbon emissions, not just account for them. So achieving carbon neutral would be manageable. But the accreditation costs were frightening, for an organisation of our size. I accept that nothing comes for free, but when it costs more for the accreditation than to actually achieve the outcome, then there’s a problem. 

Now for small organisations this poses a dilemma. Do we achieve the outcome, without accreditation, and run the risk of being accused of misleading people? Do we not achieve the outcome, because the accreditation doesn’t represent good value for money? What happens in a few years’ time, when larger corporates insist on dealing only with accredited bodies? 

The UK will need everyone to work towards Net Zero and it should be encouraging early adopters. What it can’t have, is accreditation schemes milking the climate for their ends, especially if it prevents organisations doing the right thing.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO 

A PS.

I will be approaching the organisation to explain our situation. They are well-known, do good work. Their Annual Report lists the influential board membership. Their turnover is 10 times that of EUA. But I won’t mention the third of a million £ salary of their CEO, I promise.