Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

How climate change affects your business

Climate change may affect your business in a number of ways.

Unpredictable weather can impact directly on your business, for example by increasing the risk of water shortages or flooding. This can cause significant disruption to your business and make it more difficult to get insurance.

DAERA NI: Flood map of Northern Ireland

SEPA: Flooding

Your business may also be affected by measures imposed by the UK government to help meet greenhouse gas reduction targets. These measures include:

  • The climate change levy - a method designed to improve your business' energy efficiency. You may already pay this levy as part of your energy bills. You can reduce the amount of levy you pay by using energy from renewable sources and cutting the amount you use. See our guideline: Generate your own renewable energy
  • Climate change agreements - if your business is in an energy-intensive sector you may be eligible for a reduction in the climate change levy by meeting energy reduction targets.
  • The European Union emissions trading system - if your business is in one of the energy-intensive sectors covered by the scheme, you must report and meet targets to reduce your CO2 emissions.
  • The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme - if your business' electricity is supplied by half hourly meters you are likely to be included in the scheme.
  • The Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)  If your organisation employs more than 250 people or you employ less than 250 people, but have a turnover greater than 50 million Euros or your balance sheet is greater than 43 million Euros

Even if climate change legislation does not affect you, reducing your emissions can bring other benefits, such as lower energy bills and improving the way stakeholders view your business. You may also be able to take advantage of related tax breaks. See the page in this guideline: Tax breaks to encourage energy efficiency. You can begin to reduce your emissions by:

  • using energy efficiently
  • cutting carbon emissions from transport
  • cutting carbon emissions from buildings
  • designing low-carbon products
  • using suppliers of low-carbon products.

The most effective way of cutting your carbon emissions is likely to be by using a systematic approach to managing emissions reduction - see our guideline: Environmental management systems (EMS) and environmental reports

In this Guideline

How climate change affects your business

How to cut carbon emissions from energy use

How to cut carbon emissions from business travel

How to cut carbon emissions from business buildings

How to design low-carbon products

How to find suppliers of low-carbon products

Tax breaks to encourage energy efficiency

Comply with emissions trading requirements

International climate change projects and the carbon offset market

How to get involved with Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation projects

Purchasing carbon offsets

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms