The Carbon Trust has released new figures showing that businesses working with the government-backed advisory company have saved £1 billion ($1.78 billion) in energy costs and cut carbon emissions by 17 million tonnes (37 billion pounds).
However, it also warned that rising energy bills meant that the need for the business community to embrace energy and carbon saving measures was getting greater all the time.
"In the short term, with energy prices continuing to rise, the need for business to become 'carbon literate' is ever greater," warned Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay, adding that those firms that moved earliest to address their carbon emissions would be best placed to benefit from the emerging low carbon economy.
According to the Carbon Trust's annual report, businesses working with the organization cut their carbon footprint by almost two million tonnes last year - an increase of half a million tonnes on the previous year.
The company said that it had also significantly increased its support for smaller businesses, claiming that in financial year 2007/08 it provided £40 million in support for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs).
The report also outlined ambitions for the Carbon Trust to act as a template for other countries seeking to drive down businesses' carbon footprints, detailing how it is already working on partnerships in China and the U.S. and has been approached by a number of other countries for advice.
The 25 percent increase in carbon savings delivered by the Carbon Trust will be seen in some quarters as a vindication of the organization's work after it was criticized late last year in a National Audit Office report which claimed that only 12 percent of businesses with energy bills of over £50,000 a year had worked with the body. It also found that where companies had taken advice from the Carbon Trust, only 40 percent of it had been enacted.
The Carbon Trust maintained at the time that it was making good progress encouraging firms to take up more of its recommendations and was increasing the number of organizations it works with, facts that appear to have been born out in the past 12 months.
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