Safeguarding the environment

Today is World Environment Day (WED) - a day that I believe is really important because it encourages worldwide awareness and action to safeguard the environment. So in support of WED, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to embrace its principles and call for action – action that can help secure a sustainable future by doing something that can make a difference - whether it’s riding your bike to work or recycling yesterday’s newspaper. Every action counts, and together the collective steps that you, me and Centrica are taking will make a significant difference in helping mitigate one of our biggest challenges facing the world today - climate change.

Here comes the science

In its recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that the ‘overwhelming’ impacts of climate change are likely to be ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible’. The IPCC also claimed that it’s ‘extremely likely’ that human influence has been the dominant cause of global warming since the 20th century. And while we have contributed to climate change, it is also still possible for us to limit it by reducing global levels of greenhouse gas emissions - so I believe we all need to take swift and meaningful action now to do just that.

What we are doing at Centrica

At Centrica we can be part of the solution to climate change. We have a strong track record in cutting carbon emissions from our energy production and helping customers reduce their energy and use it more efficiently. And by enabling customers to limit their impact on the environment through reductions in energy consumption, we are helping tackle the largest single source of carbon emissions associated with our business. These steps not only help the UK meet binding targets to reduce carbon emissions to at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, but it also saves our customers money, builds loyalty and earns us their trust; the latter of which is currently at an all-time low.

Below are just a few of the actions we are taking to reduce climate change.

  • Products and services – We are a leader in driving low carbon products and services that give customers the tools and technology needed to better understand and manage their energy use. We are driving deployment of products such as insulation, new boilers and solar panels which have big environmental benefits and provide a greater range of services to our customers. For example, the products we’ve installed in people’s homes since 2010 will save around 9.8m tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions, which equates to taking around 660,000 cars off the road. We are also stimulating take-up of innovative products to increase consumer energy control, having already installed over 70% of Britain’s smart meters. While in North America, we have delivered time-of-use offerings which enable customers to shift energy usage to periods of lower consumption, so less energy generation is needed to meet peak demand.
  • Energy supplies –We have an energy mix that gives us a competitive advantage and balances the often competing needs of energy security, affordability and low carbon . We are a leading operator in renewable offshore wind farms, have investments in low carbon nuclear power and are a big player in securing gas supplies, which is the cleanest fossil fuel and will play a vital role in the transition to a low carbon world. These investments mean we have one of the cleanest fuel mixes in the UK (note 1). While our total carbon emissions and carbon intensity remained broadly flat in 2013 when compared with 2012, we are a progressively cleaner company, with the carbon we emit per unit of revenue having halved over the last five years.
  • Internal carbon footprint – We are also committed to reducing the emissions from our offices, fleet and travel. We do this by investing in energy efficiency measures across our sites, introducing more fuel-efficient vehicles to our fleet and encouraging low carbon behaviours by providing alternatives to business travel such as videoconferencing. We also undertake a number of activities across our sites annually to celebrate WED and stimulate behaviour change on issues from waste reduction to energy efficiency. In 2013 our internal carbon footprint remained similar to 2012 at 91,464 (note 2) tCO2e, which totals a 19% total reduction from 2007 and means we remain on track to achieve our 2015 reduction target of 20%.

We are proud that our approach to the effective management of climate change related risks and opportunities has received external recognition, as demonstrated by our long-standing position in the Carbon Disclosure Project leadership index for the sixth consecutive year (note 3).

So, please join me in celebrating World Environment Day and start taking those steps towards a more sustainable future.

For more information on action we are taking to safeguard the environment, read our 2013 CR Performance Review .


1 The carbon intensity of the power we sold in the UK in 2012/13 financial year was 379gCO2/kWh, well below the UK average of 470gCO2/kWh.

2Assured by Deloitte LLP for 2013 reporting.

3 The CDP is the world’s only global environmental disclosure system for climate change data and represents 722 investors with $87trillion in assets. The Leadership Index contains the 60 top-performing companies.

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