ESOS scheme missing big opportunity to cut emissions, warns experts

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 03 Jun 2016 21:10, Last updated: 2016-06-03
ESOS applies to all organisations with an annual turnover of more than £40m

Companies look at the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) as a compliance obligation rather than the chance to reduce overheads and cut long-term energy risks because of the Government’s insistence on highlighting its substantial fines structure and looming deadline, according to a survey of business chiefs.

Leading resource efficiency specialist ecosurety analysed the views of 200-plus members eligible for ESOS, who must submit an energy assessment to the Environment Agency by December this year.

At least a quarter of all businesses that fall under ESOS are yet to act, despite the approaching deadline, risk of fines, and ensuing reputational damage, it estimates from the research.

In total about 7,000 large businesses in the UK are obligated to carry out an ESOS assessment, according to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. That could equate to just over 1, 700 companies not yet engaging with the scheme.

James Piper, Commercial Director at Ecosurety, said: “Our outreach suggests many company boards are still ignoring this opportunity, possibly because they were bombarded with warning messages about ESOS when the scheme was first announced.

“Many of our members have been approached by assessors, but the message about the big savings, plus the environmental benefits, really hasn’t been communicated effectively. It’s definitely been more stick than carrot and as a result significant numbers are simply switching off.”

James added: “This opportunity is about so much more than avoiding fines, it’s about sustainable, long-term financial rewards, and protecting a company’s often hard won reputation, both with customers but also inside the supply chain.”

ESOS applies to all organisations that employ more than 250 people or with an annual turnover of more than £38.98m, plus a balance sheet value of more than £33.48m.

Under the scheme, assessments of energy use on site and in transport need to be renewed every four years, while non-compliance can lead to companies being fined up to £50, 000.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change introduced ESOS in 2014 to ensure UK businesses comply with the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, which requires all EU members to introduce a programme of regular energy audits for large enterprises.

James concluded: “There are still too many organisations out there that need to take decisive action. This opportunity needs to be embraced with an open mind, too, because the potential savings being found are substantial, and easily deliver return on investment.”

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