City firms create smallest carbon footprint

Financial services firms lead the rest of the pack in minimising environmental impacts whilst remaining profitable

Sectors such as banking, finance and insurance have the smallest carbon footprint per pound of wealth generated in the UK, according to an analysis of Government statistics published March 20, 2008 by the base business forum.

The research, which analyses the individual environmental footprint of workers in different industrial sectors, as well as how much revenue each sector generates per tonne of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, shows that workers in financial services firms are leading the way in minimising their impacts on the environment. Each financial services worker can be held accountable for just 1.2 tonnes of GHG per year (with the sector creating over £40000 of wealth per tonne emitted), as opposed to those in the construction industry who represent nearly 9 tonnes (with wealth of just over £6000 per tonne created), and those in the energy sector who account for an enormous 1127 tonnes of emissions.

The research also shows:
· The worst performing sectors were in electricity, gas and water supply, and agriculture
· The greenest region in the country is Greater London, whilst the North East – with its industrial legacy – still has room for improvement in terms of reducing its carbon footprint.

This research has been published by base – a new business forum set up specifically to provide practical information to companies about how they can capitalise on the drive to sustainability. Bringing together companies from every sector, from all parts of the supply chain, it will examine the critical role that environmental considerations will play in how we do business in the 21st century.

Base’s Chairman, sustainability expert Tom Burke, said:

“Understanding how we manage and adapt to climate change is going to be critical to how we do business in future. The most successful companies from now on will be those that place climate change on a par with operational, market and financial risks, and those that adopt a positive, pragmatic and inventive attitude to developing green products and services. There is still much to be done and all sectors need to continually look to improve their performance.”

Speaking on behalf of Barclays Commercial, one of base’s founding partners, Richard French, Director, Marketing and Online Channel, said:

“We have always believed there is a strong link between business sustainability and business success, and are delighted that this research has proved how far our own sector has gone to minimise its environmental footprint. At Barclays, we are carbon neutral, and have our own Climate Action Programme to further reduce our impact. We are looking forward to engaging with leading thinkers on sustainability at base to explore how we can share our experiences with other businesses in this space in the future.”