Public sector most committed to carbon reduction

Over half (58%) of public sector respondents said their organisation planned to make 'tangible investments' in carbon reduction in 2012 with 77.9% agreeing that it had remained a key facet of the organisation's objectives despite the difficult economic climate.

In contrast less than half (46%) of private sector workers confirmed their company will be making such investments in the coming year.

Interestingly, the overwhelming majority (78%) of respondents are looking to the public sector to lead the way on carbon reduction by cutting their own emissions.

We've worked with some truly pioneering public sector organisations to slash their costs and carbon. Even in the face of an economic downturn, the public sector clearly still recognises the benefit of managing down its carbon and sees the short-term as well as long-term benefits of doing so. You don't have to invest large sums upfront to see a return. An open goal for the public sector is engaging their staff in energy efficiency programmes. The business case for carbon action stacks up. It's an essential opportunity for cost saving not a costly nice-to-have.

- Richard Rugg, Director, Carbon Trust Programmes

Further areas covered by the survey include procurement, where an encouraging 50% of respondents from all sectors stated that carbon is a consideration in their organisation's decision-making processes.

However, neither public or private sector have yet capitalised on the savings that can we achieved by engaging their employees. Under a third of all respondents said their organisation had engaged employees in cutting carbon. 

Notes to editors

*The survey was an online poll conducted on the Guardian Sustainable Business website between November and December 2011. There were a total of 1,256 respondents.

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About the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies. By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.

We help to cut carbon emissions now by

  • Providing specialist advice and finance to help organisations cut carbon
  • Setting standards for carbon reduction

We reduce potential future carbon emissions by

  • Opening markets for low carbon technologies
  • Leading industry collaborations to commercialise technologies
  • Investing in early stage low carbon companies