The Carbon Trust Standard Company has made it easier and more cost effective for the UK's 4.8 million SMEs to cut their carbon footprints, save money and gain the respected Carbon Trust Standard.A UK first, the new service comes at a time when a 'perfect storm' of factors - from rising energy prices to looming regulatory controls - are making carbon-cutting an imperative whatever the size or shape of your enterprise.SMEs account for 45% of business energy use according to government statistics and are widely recognised as having a vital role to play in the UK drive to cut carbon emissions and foster a low carbon economy. Despite this potential, a lack of time, money and resources has so far prevented many from taking action to cut their carbon emissions.To address this need, the new Carbon Trust Standard online application process is specifically designed to enable small and growing businesses to be assessed and certified cost effectively against the requirements of the Carbon Trust Standard. The new service is available to organisations with an energy spend of up to £50,000. While household names such as Marks & Spencer, Microsoft and Boots are among the more than 400 businesses that have achieved the Carbon Trust Standard so far, only 17 are SMEs. The Carbon Trust Standard Company's new online application service will enable many more SMEs to reap the same commercial rewards as their bigger brothers by helping them easily and rapidly quantify their footprint and enabling them to enhance their environmental credentials by demonstration their carbon measurement and reduction performance.Harry Morrison, General Manager of the Carbon Trust Standard Company, said: "When added together the potential for savings by SMEs could be up to £1.1 billion so carbon management is fast becoming a business imperative. To help them act they need tailored expert help to do the right thing and reap the business benefits. Our new assessment and certification service is a great way for small and growing companies to accurately assess and benchmark their carbon performance, support their ongoing carbon reduction programmes and most importantly independently certify and promote their carbon saving achievements to key stakeholders. "The new online service is convenient and relatively low cost to deliver making it more affordable and easier for SMEs to tackle their carbon management performance alongside their other priorities." SMEs - from a range of industry sectors - helped to validate the tool via a pilot scheme. On average they have cut their carbon footprint by over 7%, saved nearly 5 tonnes CO2e and now benefit from independent certification of their carbon performance by the Carbon Trust Standard Company. Simon Harvey, Managing Director at the accounting software specialists, Benchmark Software, said: "There is growing evidence to support the commercial and financial benefits of being more carbon efficient. In our experience, large organisations are increasingly responsible for the carbon in their supply chain and expect their suppliers to have environmental policies and be actively reducing their emissions. In addition, our customers are becoming more savvy and discerning and expect us to do business in a more ethical and sustainable way. The Carbon Trust Standard certification gives us that opportunity to communicate out environmental credentials with integrity to those that matter." The Carbon Trust Standard Company's new assessment and certification service is being welcomed and supported by many of the country's leading industry associations including The Federation of Small Businesses, The Prince's Mayday Network, convened by Business in the Community and the British Chamber of Commerce. David Caro, Environment Committee Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Small businesses have a huge role to play in the UUK's drive towards a low carbon economy. In order to do this, however, they need the sort of specialist help which is now available via this online assessment and certification process."Katie Webber, Mayday Campaign Director, said: "Helping SMEs navigate their way through the complexities of carbon management is a central part of the Mayday campaign. This new service from the Carbon Trust Standard Company will make it much simpler for SMEs to quantify their carbon footprint and have the accurate carbon data in place to be successful on their low carbon journeys." Gareth Elliott, Senior Policy Advisor, British Chamber of Commerce said: "Helping British business thrive is our principle aim. We sincerely hope that this new service will become an important step forward for small, growing enterprises that are looking to improve their carbon management performance, promote their credentials, and secure new and existing business."Anyone wishing to find out more about the service for SMEs, or to register, can visit www.carbontruststandard.com/sme.About the Carbon Trust
The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies. By stimulating low carbon action they contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.