How Carbon is the Name of the Game in UK CSR

A new finance package will provide help to businesses which want to focus their CSR on energy efficiency and low carbon solutions.

The scheme has been launched by not-for –profit green business experts The Carbon Trust, in partnership with Siemens, and will be open to any UK business from 4 April this year.

In total, firms wishing to boost their CSR credentials by greening their businesses will have access to finance for green equipment worth £550 million over the next three years. It will enable businesses to invest in cost effective energy efficiency measures or technology such as new lighting or biomass heating.

Applications for funding will be judged based on their potential CO2 savings, reduction in energy usage and overall cost effectiveness.

This development will be welcomed by the many businesses across the UK which want to green their businesses but are struggling to find financial backing. Initiatives such as the development of a Green Investment Bank, have been welcomed by the financial sector but many fear that the promised £1bn funding is not enough. Critics have also warned that it is taking too long to set up, and that the UK may miss the boat when it comes to creating a green economy.

Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, said:
“Driving green growth in the UK is key to our economic recovery. A missing ingredient at present is access to affordable finance to enable business to make green investments. This new major finance facility will improve business competitiveness, cut carbon and boost green growth.”

The partnership between Siemens Financial Services and the Carbon Trust hopes to capitalize on both partners’ strengths. Siemens has expertise in lending, particularly to small businesses, and the Carbon Trust has longstanding experience in carbon saving from energy efficient technologies. This means it is well placed to work out the carbon, energy and cost savings of applications for funding. As a result, the financing of the scheme will pay for itself through energy savings.

In a coup for the partnership, it has been formally welcomed by both the Institute of Directors and Greenpeace. It is impressive for a CSR venture of this nature to receive such widespread backing.

John Sauven of Greenpeace said:
This green finance deal is exactly the sort of initiative that we need to see happening more frequently in the future. A green growth strategy can only work if it is backed by green finance. Deals like this, alongside the development of a green infrastructure bank, could be a tipping point that the UK economy needs to get out of the current doldrums.”

In addition to this new scheme, the Carbon Trust and Siemens Financial Services will also be launching a venture to support businesses wanting to buy energy-efficient equipment on a larger scale, due to be launched later in the year. This is CSR at its most practical.

Photo credit: Living Off Grid