Progressing towards our internal carbon footprint target

Jim Rushen

By Jim Rushen
Head of Environment

 In 2017, we cut emissions across our property, fleet and travel by 11%.

It’s clear that climate change is one of the greatest global challenges facing society. That motivates me as Centrica’s Head of Environment and many of my colleagues, to take meaningful action to reduce energy’s impact.  

How? Well, we’re enabling the low carbon transition by helping customers cut their carbon through our products and services, we’re helping decarbonise the energy system by providing flexibility to the grid and we’re driving emissions out of our operations through technology, innovation and cultural change.

Today, I wanted to focus on this last point and specifically, what we’re doing to reduce our internal carbon footprint. I’m pleased to let you know that in 2017, we cut emissions across our property, fleet and travel by 11%. This takes our overall reduction to 18% against our target to reduce our footprint by 20% by 2025, having already cut emissions by 27% during 2007-15.

So, what drove our internal carbon footprint reduction in 2017?  

  • Property emissions decreased 16% - By using our distributed energy solutions, we have been able to further reduce our property emissions. We continued to detect efficiencies from our Panoramic Power sensors in the US, while renewable energy generation from our onsite solar panels in the UK increased 48%. Ongoing organisational changes which resulted in headcount reductions, also reduced our energy use further than anticipated.  
  • Fleet emissions reduced 10% -  We made a number of changes across our fleet in 2017 which meant we could serve our customers more efficiently than before – from replacing 1,500 vehicles with more efficient models in the UK to more intelligent job assignment in North America via telematics. 2017 also saw the conclusion of our 5-year electric vehicle (EV) trial of more than 100 vehicles. We are sharing learning from the trial with manufacturers to advance take-up of commercial EV fleets across the UK. This will also help us progress towards our ambition for a 100% zero carbon enabled British Gas fleet by 2030 through electric or hybrid vehicles.  
  • Travel emissions increased 8% - As we become an increasingly global company, our air travel is also increasing. So as we continue to expand, we will take care to encourage our people to optimise their travel arrangements and pursue alternatives to travel like video conferencing. Following our efforts to help more of our people into company cars with lower emissions, we now have nearly 300 employees choosing electric or hybrid cars and have upgraded and expanded our EV onsite charging network. Together with the reorganisation, this has contributed to our company car emissions reducing by 40% in 2017.  

As I look to 2018, I’m excited about achieving further carbon savings.

For example, we’re installing battery storage units at our headquarters and improving our biomass plants to back-up renewable generation and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. We’ll also continue to explore ways to maximise fleet efficiencies including the trial of a new Plug-In Hybrid Electric van alongside the trial of petrol instead of diesel engines in order to combat the growing issue of poor air quality in UK cities. We also aim to increase the total number of EV charge points across our UK office’s to over 150.    

As we progress these initiatives and as the reorganisation of our business continues, we’ll review our 2025 target against our performance to ensure it remains challenging.  

Want to find out more about how we are enabling the low carbon transition? Ask me a question or explore