Before today making a connection between Manchester United and British American Tobacco (BAT) might have been difficult. Arguably, they both export products which are both loved and loathed equally by different populations of the public. However, whereas Manchester United are used to topping the tables it might be more of a surprise for BAT to find themselves at the top of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) rankings.
The first Energy Efficiency Performance League Table which ranks 2,000 CRC organisations according to how they manage their energy use was released today by the Environment agency (eventually after several technical glitches). The list which compares retailers, restaurant chains, government departments, hospitals and councils against one another certainly raises eyebrows.
Conveniently, some may say, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are ranked joint first along with 22 others including English football champions Manchester United, Center Parcs, Slaughter and May and OFGEM. Several other government departments do not, however, do so well. The Home Office is one of 803 organisations who according to the ranking scored zero for the ‘Early Action Metric’ to make energy efficiency progress.
Many organisations will be surprised where they rank and many will criticise the way the information has been presented. In a previous life I was involved first-hand in helping an organisation provide their information for the scheme and I wasn’t at all surprised that the mechanism was complicated and drawn out.
In many ways a company’s position in the ranking might not actually reflect their energy efficiency but rather how efficient and competent their in-house staff was at understanding and completing the information needed. The scheme also doesn’t compare like with like nor does it reflect energy efficiency actions companies made before the scheme began.
Ultimately, though this is an excellent example of how a company’s communication and disclosure of environmental data is becoming more integral and in particular how discrepancies in the consistency of a company’s green narrative might stand out. The CRC scheme highlights perfectly the need for an organisation to make sure their corporate responsibility and sustainability messages match what is happening in reality within their company.
Companies need to be alert to the fact that reporting on their environmental data is an expected requisite of a 21st Century organisation-it is not a good gesture in their reporting but rather license to operate. Their sustainability communications need to be clear, transparent and consistent and most importantly be told as an integral part of their wider corporate narrative. Their ‘green’ narrative must be clear and easy to understand especially when information arises that contradicts what they are saying about themselves.