Economic climate 'turning more businesses green'

Businesses are still queuing up to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions despite the current economic downturn.

One carbon management and offsetting firm has found that demand for its services is actually increasing despite dire warnings about the state of the economy.

Mike Rigby, director of CO2 Balance, told delegates at the Energy Solutions Expo - part of Working Buildings 2008 - in London, that more and more firms were seeking out his company's help as a well to help them stand out from the competition.

"There's quite a move to get a competitive edge at the moment," he said.

"To be able to demonstrate to your clients that you have done something about your emissions can give you that competitive edge."

He acknowledged that his industry has had a dubious reputation, but said the launch of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) this year was helping to regulate voluntary offsetting and increase confidence in schemes.

He added: "It might sound a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas, but I would actually like to see a position in 15 or 20 years where we have no carbon offsetting because we have the technology to avoid it.

"But we are not going to get there anytime soon so I think [carbon offsetting] is a good stop gap measure."

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) was urging more firms at Working Buildings to join its 100 Hours of Carbon Clean Up Campaign.

The campaign, which began in August, has already signed up about 400 organisations including the Natural History Museum, BBC Wales and Bolton Wanderers Football Club to commit 100 hours of staff time to energy saving activities.

Although the campaign finishes at the end of November, CIBSE said more firms could still sign up and continue energy saving beyond the scheme's conclusion.

By Kate Martin

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