Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Carbon emissions, greenhouse gases

Manage greenhouse gases and reduce your carbon footprint

Reduce your impact on the environment by reducing your carbon emissions. This guideline looks at how to reduce your carbon footprint

What you must do

Check if ESOS or the CRC Energy Efficiency Schemes apply to you

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) is designed to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the UK. It started in April 2010.

The scheme will affect you if your business' electricity is metered by at least one half hourly meter and you buy on the half hour market. Your electricity supplier can tell you if you buy electricity on the half hour market.

You are responsible for checking if the scheme applies to you. To check you can email CRC help.

See our guidance on the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme 

Find out about ESOS

Trade your emissions

Some businesses are required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). You may need a greenhouse gas permit and to report on your carbon dioxide emissions.

See our guidance on the emissions trading in:

EU Emissions trading

Good practice

Reduce your climate change levy

The climate change levy is a tax on using non-renewable energy. If the climate change levy applies to your business you will already be paying it as part of your energy bills. You can reduce the amount that you pay by reducing the amount of non-renewable energy that you use.

For more detailed guidance, and to find out if you qualify for an exemption or discount, see our guidance on the climate change levy in:

Cutting your carbon emissions

Improve your energy efficiency

You can save money and help the environment by taking steps to reduce your energy use.

See our guidance on energy use and efficiency.

Use renewable energy

You can reduce your carbon emissions by using energy from renewable sources.

Buy your energy using:

  • green tariffs where the provider buys the same amount of energy you use from a renewable source such as a wind farm
  • green funds where the provider invests money into researching or setting up renewable energy projects.

Make sure you know how your electricity supplier will check the green tariff or fund and how this will be displayed on your bill.

Look for a tariff certified under the Green Energy Certification Scheme. The scheme electricity tariffs have been independently checked, and meet the energy regulator Ofgem's Green Energy Supply Guidelines.

Green Energy Supply

Find out if there are any local community renewable energy schemes in your area that you could participate in.

In Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust has developed the Green Network for Businesses. This tool allows you to search by postcode for green businesses in your area. All these businesses have installed energy saving or energy generating technologies .

Once you identify the business that has installed the green technology you are interested in, contact them to organise a visit.

EST: Green Network for Business

Generate your own electricity, from wind or solar energy for example. You could get a loan from the Carbon Trust to help with the capital costs of installing small-scale renewable energy generators.

Take a short course to learn more about renewable technologies. The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) runs a number of how-to courses for people who want to generate their own electricity.

You can use the NetRegs e-learning tools to get a good overview of key issues. These tools are free to use and cover the essential points of each topic. They might be useful as a refresher course, or to make sure that staff  have a good understanding of their environmental responsibilities.

  • Preventing pollution – a general guide
  • Duty of care
  • Sinks, drains and sewers
  • WEEE
  • Generating renewable energy

All are available at: NetRegs: e-learning tools:

Watch our short videos:

How to manage transport impacts from your business

How to reduce carbon emissions from your business

Good practice in an office

How to manage oil on site

How to prepare an emergency response for your business

How to harvest rainwater for your business

Further information on reducing carbon emissions

Carbon Trust: Benchmark Tool
Carbon Trust Standard
GOV.UK: Adapting to climate change 

Environmental tax breaks and obligations

Zero Waste Scotland has produced a series of free, online training modules for SMEs. The training will help develop the skills and knowledge needed to put in place effective resource efficiency measures in your business. They deal with energy, waste and water efficiency. You can work through them at your own speed, choosing the modules that are relevant to your business.

ZWS: Green Champions Training


SEE ALSO: Towards a circular economy, Cutting your carbon emissions, Combined heat and power, Generate renewable energy

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