Foodservice companies and analysts are warning that the results of the first ever Carbon Reduction Commitment league table should be taken with a pinch of salt.


Published by the Environment Agency (EA), the table ranks over 2,000 of the UK’s biggest companies according to how they manage their energy use. This includes the steps taken to install smart meters and comply with carbon accreditation schemes, for which companies are awarded ‘credits’.


Over 60% of organisations have taken action – a “very encouraging” result according to the EA’s director of business and environment, Ed Mitchell. Sodexo and Compass were among those that had taken some action.


“These results provide us with a good platform to build on our achievements in this area and put in place further initiatives to increase efficiency,” said Sachin Sharma, Compass head of corporate responsibility and environment. Sodexo environmental manager Paul Bracegirdle, said the company was “working to ensure compliance with the scheme”.


Critics have suggested that it’s difficult to compare companies in terms of performance, not least because reductions in carbon emissions are not taken into account (this is the first year and though listed, emissions reductions won’t count towards scores until later years). There have been calls for sector-specific tables to allow comparisons with like for like and sharing of best practice.


David Symons, director at global environmental consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, said that the current system allows those organisations with fewer sites to secure a more lofty position in the table. “Organisations such as Manchester United, Bishopsgate Management and Slaughter & May will have found it easier to perform well since they’ll only have had to [consider] one or two sites.  This makes the achievements of large organisations with many sites much more impressive,” he said.


However, there were a total of 800 companies (40%) who had taken no action and these were “wasting money” said Symons. “Installing the simplest of automatic meter readers, and acting on the data these produce, saves firms around 10% on their energy bills with little capital expense.”


The CRC has been beset with controversy, most notably when the Government decided to keep the revenues raised rather than recycle them to the best-performing firms.


However, reports emerged this week that the scheme could be revised if the Government introduces mandatory carbon reporting for large businesses. The Government consulted on whether to move away from voluntary reporting in the summer and a decision is expected within weeks.