FDs hedge on adopting carbon policy

Carbon reduction polic: will it survive?

Will finance directors see the demand to pay for carbon emissions on energy
remain after the general election next year or could the Tories, if they win, do
away with the policy?

The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) policy plans to impose a charge for
companies on energy emissions by 2011 but there is speculation that the outcome
of the election could see the policy dumped or transformed.

Rumours about the policy’s future were circulating during a recent gathering
of FTSE 100 sustainability experts in London where speculation centred on
whether it would be dropped in favour of the Tory’s own Green Consumer
Revolution proposals.

The Tory plans include greater transparency on goods and “designing the right
incentives” not “punishing” polluters.

The CRC policy, announced at the beginning of this year, is intended to help
the UK reach emissions reduction targets. Although the Conservatives back a low
carbon economy they have been cloudy as to their thoughts on the CRC.

The CRC forces companies that spend approximately £500,000 annually on
electricity bills to pay for their estimated carbon usage. They then receive a
rebate based on improvements. Some finance directors are avoiding early adoption
of the policy pending clarity over Tory intentions.

“There is always a risk in terms of any government policy that it can get
changed,” said Paul Rew, assurance partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Although
Rew does not disagree with FDs who are hesitant to invest in CRC adoption, he
advises they should continue to carry out assessments “only then can they decide
if they will ready themselves or can afford to wait.”

David Cameron has said he does not want to “resort to regulation” when
lowering company emissions. The Tory party declined to comment.


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