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18 Business Footprint winter 2010 ENVironmental Impactcosts so much. I mean it's more than doubled in the last five years, and before the downturn, prices were even higher."Again my client's correct. Before the world downturn the limitations of supply were apparent. Energy is a finite resource. Worldwide demand increased, prices spiralled, and oil prices rose to $145 a barrel, with electricity rising to 9.0 per KW/h wholesale.The quest to find energy reserves gets harder. The environment it's sourced from, more hostile. The costs to recover therefore get higher and the demands on the technology being used is stretched, hence the problems over a mile below the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico.With the emerging markets gradually coming out from recession, demand from these nations will ultimately increase. India is home to about 15% of the world population and China 25%. Energy costs in the short term are only going to go one way, and that's before the scheduled 2.5% increase in VAT in January.My client isn't alone in his initial beliefs. Most businesses consider that energy is simply an overhead, one that has to be absorbed, one that impacts the bottom line, and is way outside their core business. However the truth is that energy is a manageable resource.The example I always give is that most SME's appoint the services of an accountant. They 'buy in' this Glen Baynes of 1st Class Energy illuminates the bottom line "Part of the problem," he said, "is that you just can't see it.""Pardon?" I said." just can't see it. It's not like the waste from the office. I can see that: see when there is a lot of it; see it's a problem; see when we have cut down; see when something needs to be done about it, see?" My client is right of course. He can't physically see carbon but, as I explained: "What about when you see your energy bills?""I just look at the bottom line," he paused, "and curse. I cant understand why it all It's not the waste you can se, it's the waste you can't se...expertise as it is outside their core business activities and considered a specialism. He (or she) is then expected to deliver:ÎÎGood clear, precise advice tailored around the businessÎÎthat the business stays legally compliantÎÎfinancial advice on taxation, grants and loansÎÎsound advice that saves the business moneyAnd it is exactly these same reasons that businesses should engage a good energy practice. You will find that with clear and effective energy management strategy in place an organisation can quantify savings, reduce risk and make a real difference to their bottom line. So, what are you waiting for? Your next energy bill?"The quest to find energy reserves gets harder. The environment it's sourced from, more hostile. The costs to recover therefore get higher and the demands on the technology being used is stretched, hence the problems over a mile below the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico."1st Class Energy Ltd W E T 01582 793525 winter 2010 Business Footprint 19Environmental impactTrucost aims to help organisations measure and manage the environmental impacts associated with their operations, supply chains and investment portfolios, writes Robert Bewell. The company likes to argue that it provides the world's most comprehensive data on corporate environmental impacts. Key to the approach is that the company not only quantifies environmental impacts but also puts a price on them which should help organisations understand environmental risk in business terms.In this way Trucost helps its customers manage financial risk from environmental issues such as climate change regulation and natural resource dependency, meet environmental reporting requirements, demonstrate robust environmental credentials and drive cost and efficiency improvements through their operations.Trucost is a commercial consultancy and charges for company specific reports. The website provides much free information. In my own field of investment management it has produced reports on measuring carbon in property funds and active equity funds, a factor one should consider when planning investments.Few clients will disagree with seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of their investments.Climate Change statisticsIt can be difficult to maintain a balance when faced by the claims and counter-TRUCOST - taking the environment into accountclaims of the promoters and opponents of the measures needed to counter climate change.The forecasts of the worst possibilities are frightening but we should be realistic about the benefits of the physical measures we plan to take in the UK.The UK is responsible for less than 2% of global emissions - a figure set to fall sharply, regardless of what we do, as a result of the rapid industrialisation of developing countries like China and India.Each year the increase in Chinese CO2 emissions alone is greater than those produced by the entire British economy. Let's slow down. Robert Bewell can be contacted at Raymond James Investment ServicesTelephone 01462 422507 Email