Carbon accounting is no longer an optional extra. Carbon is increasingly central in public finance decisions, alongside cost and quality. Public sector spending was 41% of Scotland’s GDP last year so businesses who can prove they have reduced the environmental impacts of their product or services will be have the edge in competing for these contracts.

Today the Carbon Accountability Programme [1] will host a gathering of public and private sector organisations at the Scottish Parliament to discuss how we assess the carbon costs of public sector investment and spending. [2] Delegates include representatives from councils across Scotland as well as BT, SEPA, Scottish Water and RBS amongst others.

Speakers at the seminar will include Fife Council who will cover how they are starting to harness their purchasing power by integrating carbon into spending decisions both large and small, the South West Regional Development Agency who will present on how the agency plans to deliver an ambitious net carbon-neutral investment portfolio by 2013 and the Scottish Government who will be speaking about the world’s first carbon assessment of a national budget.

The Carbon Accountability Programme promotes accountability for the climate impacts and environmental claims of organisations and hopes the seminar will encourage sharing of best practice, and stimulate discussion around how we account for carbon.

Iain Thom, coordinator of the Carbon Accountability Programme said, ‘The decision to finance projects like road building programmes or new energy infrastructure will affect society and the climate for decades to come. Organisations that build carbon into their investment and spending decisions will not only be well placed to meet the needs of an increasingly Green economy but will be better able to achieve the carbon reductions required by Scottish and UK climate change legislation, and the Carbon Reduction Commitment.’

Sue Roaf of the Scottish Carbon Counting Group, said: “Integrating carbon assessments into financial decision-making is a new field but one central to a future sustainable economy so we will all have to learn about it.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] The Carbon Accountability Programme aims to ensure confidence in our actions to reduce carbon. The CAP is hosted by Friends of the Earth Scotland and seed funded by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. www.carbonconfidence.org.

[2] ‘Counting carbon in investment and spending’ will take place in the Scottish Parliament, 2-5pm, 5th November 2009. This event is organised by the Carbon Accountability Programme and Scottish Carbon Counting Group. If you wish to arrange an interview with any of the speakers, please contact Iain Thom (iain@carbonconfidence.org) or Per Fischer on 0131 311 2719