Carbon Trust

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Carbon Trust
TypeNot for Dividend Private Company Limited by Guarantee
IndustryCarbon management and reduction
United Kingdom
Number of locations
Key people
Tom Delay CBE (CEO)
Baroness Brown of Cambridge (Chair)
Number of employees

The Carbon Trust was developed and launched during first Blair Administration (1997-2001) as part of the development of the Climate Change Levy (CCL), a tax on business energy use that still operates today. The original intention was that the Carbon Trust would be funded by around £50m pa of tax revenue generated from the Levy to help businesses reduce energy costs and therefore offset the additional cost of paying the CCL. The establishment of the Carbon Trust was announced in the 2000 White Paper "Climate Change - the UK Programme" (Cmd 4913)[1]. It was launched alongside the introduction of the CCL in April 2001.

The Carbon Trust was conceived as a business-led publicly funded organisation at arms length from government.[1] The early concept, design and governance was carried out in close consultation with business. Senior officials from the Devolved Administrations and the UK department (the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions) would sit on the Trust's Board, where non-business non-executive Directors were in the majority. However the chair, CEO and most of the executive team were appointed from the private sector.

Remit and initial programmes[2][3][edit]

The Trust began its work with three core activities:[4]

  • To ensure that UK business and the public sector contribute fully to meeting ongoing targets for greenhouse gas emissions.
  • To improve the competitiveness of UK business through resource efficiency; and
  • To support the development of a UK industry sector that capitalises on the innovation and commercial value of low carbon technologies nationally and internationally.

The need to recycle CCL revenues back to business by reducing energy costs through energy efficiency was a key early driver of the Carbon Trust's work. Its first act was to take over the government's £17m pa Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme (EEBPP) in 2002,[5] a UK-wide information-based measure providing independent advice and support on existing energy efficient technologies and energy management practices.

The Trust reconfigured the EEBPP to improve its focus and services to business under a new branding called "Action Energy".

The Carbon Trust also initiated work on new and emerging low carbon technologies using a range of programmes and measures including traditional research, development and demonstration support to supporting early stage companies developing new technologies and practices. These activities came under the banner of the "Low Carbon Innovation Programme"

Current work[edit]

The Carbon Trust presents itself as global organisation, with offices in London (Head Office), Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Beijing, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Pretoria, Singapore and Washington DC.


Business advice[edit]

The Carbon Trust looks at current and future sustainability challenges and works with business and organisations to develop sustainable strategies to deliver savings.[6]

Carbon footprinting, verification and Carbon Trust standard[edit]

The Carbon Trust provides voluntary carbon certification services and carbon labelling schemes – it verifies organisation and product carbon footprint data and provides marks of quality to organisations to demonstrate standards have been met.

Developing clean technology[edit]

The Carbon Trust works with governments, innovators and corporates with the aim of accelerating the commercialisation of low carbon technologies, and leads projects to deliver commercial partnerships and develop low carbon technologies.[7] It is particularly active in the areas of offshore wind, marine energy, fuel cell development and industrial energy efficiency. One such project is the Offshore Wind Accelerator, which is aimed at reducing the cost of wind power through projects focused in the North Sea. The Offshore Wind Accelerator is a partnership between industry and governments.[8]

Programmes and Innovations[edit]

The Carbon Trust provides analysis on sustainability issues to help businesses, investors and policy makers with their roles in reducing carbon and saving energy.[9] It works with companies and governments across the world.

Carbon footprinting, verification and Carbon Trust standard[edit]

Carbon Trust standards[edit]

The Carbon Trust runs a series of environmental standards that certify measurement and reduction. Currently these cover carbon, water and waste and have been awarded to hundreds of leading companies and organisations across the world.

In June 2008 the Carbon Trust introduced the Carbon Trust Carbon Standard to address what it describes as business greenwash.[10] The Carbon Trust Carbon Standard is only awarded to companies and organisations who measure and reduce their carbon emissions year on year.[11] Examples of organisations who have held the Carbon Standard include Sky, Aldi, Eurotunnel, Bupa, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Samsung Electronics, Angus Council, Capital & Regional, O2, npower, Credit Suisse and the Scottish Government.

In February 2013 the Carbon Trust introduced the Carbon Trust Water Standard to recognise those companies reducing their water use year on year. The first four companies to receive the Water Standard were Sainsbury's, Coca-Cola, Sunlight Services Group and Branston.[12]

In July 2013 the Carbon Trust introduced the Carbon Trust Waste Standard.[13] In November 2013 the waste standard was awarded to the first wave of organisations, which included The Football Association, Renishaw, Whitbread, PricewaterhouseCoopers and AkzoNobel Decorative Paints. These last three became the first in the world to gain the triple crown of reaching the carbon, water and waste standard.

In 2015 the Carbon Trust launched the Carbon Trust Supply Chain Standard to look at carbon footprints across the supply chain. It is the world's first independent certification for organisations that are measuring, managing and reducing greenhouse gas (CO2e) emissions in their supply chains.

Carbon footprint label[edit]

The Carbon Trust helps companies to measure the carbon emissions associated with their products (embodied emissions) and also provides a label for these products carbon footprint. Measuring the embodied emissions of products enables reductions to be identified and achieved across the supply chain. The label demonstrates a commitment by the product owner to reduce that footprint every two years. The Carbon Reduction Label was introduced in March 2007.[14]

Examples of products that have featured the carbon footprint label are Amazon Devices, Evian water, Tetra Pak packaging, Kingsmill bread, Quorn foods, Silver Spoon sugar, Walkers crisps, a range of own brand products in Tesco supermarkets, Halifax (HBOS) bank accounts, Dyson airblades, Marshalls building products, Quaker oats, Lafarge cement, and Pompeian Olive Oil.

The standards behind carbon labelling are now formally recognised through the PAS 2050 developed by the Carbon Trust in conjunction with BSI and Defra. This methodology is now gaining international acceptance following its launch in October 2008.[15]

However, currently this standard has been revised to the PAS 2050: 2011 version, but the Carbon Trust has not received UKAS accreditation.[2]


  1. ^ Mallaburn, Peter S.; Eyre, Nick (February 2014). "Lessons from energy efficiency policy and programmesin the UK from 1973 to 2013". Energy Efficiency. 7 (1): 23–41. doi:10.1007/s12053-013-9197-7. ISSN 1570-646X. S2CID 154515990.
  2. ^ "The carbon trust Accelerating the move to a low carbon economy. REPORT BY THE COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL | HC 7 Session 2007-2008 | 22 November 2007" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Carbon Trust Certificate of Incorporation".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Carbon Trust accounts 2001/02".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Falkners, Hugh (2000), Bertoldi, Paolo; de Almeida, Aníbal T.; Falkner, Hugh (eds.), "The UK Energy Efficiency Best Practice Program Lessons Learned", Energy Efficiency Improvements in Electronic Motors and Drives, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 483–497, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-59785-5_48, ISBN 978-3-540-67489-4, retrieved 5 March 2021
  6. ^ "Business Advice". The Carbon Trust. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Innovation". The Carbon Trust. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Offshore Wind Accelerator". Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Policy and markets". The Carbon Trust. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Carbon Trust aims to end 'greenwash' by launching company standard". The Guardian. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Carbon standard 'to renew trust'". BBC News. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Carbon Trust urges business to wake up to water waste". The Carbon Trust. 9 February 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Carbon Trust to take on waste". The Carbon Trust. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  14. ^ "UK carbon label goods sales 'pass £2bn-a-year mark'". BBC. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  15. ^ "UKAS Awards First Accreditation for Product Greenhouse Gas Assessment". United Kingdom Accreditation Service. 7 June 2010. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.

External links[edit]