• SMEs Responsible for 110 Million Tonnes of Carbon Emissions Each Year

    May 1st 2008. Posted in Group

    AXA launches carbon calculator to help SMEs reduce emissions.

    Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) generate approximately 110 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, according to new calculations published today by AXA. In an effort to help small businesses reduce their environmental impact AXA, one of the UK's leading insurers of SMEs, today launched a carbon footprint calculator available free at www.axa4business.co.uk/climate. Created specifically for SMEs it provides a self-assessment tool to enable them to assess and reduce their environmental impact.

    The Carbon Footprint Calculator, which is provided in conjunction with The CarbonNeutral Company, takes information about the SME's energy usage, waste and travel - the three main sources of CO2 - and calculates a report on the company's CO2 emissions. The company will also be presented with suggestions of ways to reduce emissions and with the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint.

    1Calculated using figures published by the Carbon Trust and Defra. The Carbon Trust estimates that SMEs account for around 20% of total UK carbon dioxide emissions, which according to provisional data for 2007 produced by Defra were 543 million tonnes.

    The calculator is supported by a guide, which includes details of proactive measures SMEs can take to reduce and offset their carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.

    AXA is concerned that many small businesses are not considering the serious risks of climate change to their business. For example, AXA's own research of businesses in high flood risk areas has found that:

    • Only one in three small business leaders feel that the effects of climate change, such as flooding, is a serious threat to their business, despite the average cost of flood damage reaching around £12,000.
    • As many as two out of three of small businesses do not have a practical contingency plan in case of being affected by severe weather. 35% of businesses affected by flooding said that they lost 1 - 5 working days as a result.
    • Amongst those who have been affected by flooding, 62% have no insurance for business interruption.

    Insurance brokers are also concerned by climate change: nearly 70% of brokers in recent AXA research said they cared somewhat or very much about climate change with three quarters of them endorsing the concept of the carbon footprint calculator.

    SMEs are the lifeblood of the nation's economy accounting for 58.9 % of all employment and 51.9% of turnover in the UK and contribute significantly to the nation's carbon footprint. The amount of CO2 produced varies from business to business. The following are examples of three different companies:

    • A marketing consultancy in central London with 11 full-time staff calculated it produces 15.9 tonnes of CO2
    • A medium-sized car dealership in Somerset with around 50 staff produces 79.44 tonnes per year.
    • A provider of risk management solutions based in Dorset with around 60 staff produces 103.56 tonnes.

    2BERR SME report 2006

    The main factors contributing to the differences between these companies included the amount of travel carried out by employees of the firms, the amounts of waste produced and energy usage. (Comparisons are shown in Notes to Editors).

    Doug Barnett, Head of Customer Risk Management at AXA said, "With an estimated 4.5 million small enterprises in the UK, the SME community needs to take responsibility for its impact on the environment and not leave green efforts solely to large corporations. The Carbon Trust estimates that SMEs are responsible for around 20 per cent of all carbon emissions in the UK . By offering SMEs a tool with which to benchmark emissions and a guide containing a range of ideas on how to reduce carbon footprints for a range of budgets we hope to encourage positive action."

    Jonathan Shopley, Executive Director, The CarbonNeutral Company, said: "Our experience working with SMEs indicates that they are concerned about the potential resource implications of 'going green' in terms of time and cost. This is why we are so pleased to be working with AXA on this Carbon Calculator as it streamlines the process and allows SMEs to take action themselves.

    "The Calculator helps SMEs to assess the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions and those businesses that reduce their emissions to net zero through internal and external reductions will be eligible to use the CarbonNeutral®brand mark. "

    Legal Notes 

    AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. AXA Group is a worldwide leader in Financial Protection. AXA's operations are diverse geographically, with major operations in Western Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific area. For full year 2006, IFRS revenues amounted to €79 billion and IFRS underlying earnings amounted to €4,010 million.

    The AXA ordinary share is listed and trades under the symbol AXA on the Paris Stock Exchange. The AXA American Depository Share is also listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol AXA.

    Our previous company performance is not a guide to how we may perform in the future.

    Any opinions expressed in this media communication are made as at the date of this publication but are subject to change without notice.