There’s a simple rule when it comes to business and sustainability; build in plenty of time to adapt.
After all, it is tough for modern businesses, with their myriad complexities and detailed operations, to react overnight to complex changes in reporting and environmental regulations.
Positively, Government recognises this. The Government’s very own research on legislation states that, ‘The volume of legislation, its piecemeal structure, its level of detail and frequent amendments, and the interaction with common law and European law, mean that even professional users can find law complex, hard to understand and difficult to comply with.’
That’s the good news; Government knows how hard it is to react to new regulations. But we appear to struggle to effectively publicise new regs, or offer transparent information in ample time. What can be done?
SECR: building the right kind of awareness
Here at the Hub, our analysts estimate around 60 per cent of UK firms affected by SECR (Steamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting) don’t know what SECR is – and they don’t know how it affects their business.
Given the inherent complexities within SECR, the sector urgently needs to help such firms meet the scheme’s challenges with transparent communication on the work they must do.
There’s no doubt it can be tough to get the message out there, or deliver it as widely as needed; day to day business can override such concerns. That’s why the Hub’s here, to help with communication.
But companies and BEIS combined must do their homework; our advice is to think about the opportunities that early compliance through communication can bring.
So; businesses need guidance, and they urgently need awareness on SECR.
The pace of communications must rapidly hasten, and it’s up to everyone to help.
What guidance, tools and attitudes does SECR’s target market need?
Of primary importance is the rapid development of official, easy to understand SECR guidance. When this is ready, the key task for the sector will be to disseminate and use this knowledge.
Our own insider analysts suspect full details of SECR will be confirmed by Autumn 2018, and hence that’s when guidance should appear. We will track this development; when guidance is out there, we will share the news on the Hub.
But guidance alone won’t be enough. At every carbon seminar, at every reporting and accounting meeting, at every networking event, firms themselves must begin talking and readying their organisations for the SECR change.
If they do this, when the guidance comes, they will be ready to act upon it.
Remember, as Ethical Corporation wisely points out: ‘Regulation will have a key part to play in driving change, and we expect to see more coming through.
‘New regulation should drive better disclosure and encourage improvements in efficiency and emissions reduction, as happened when carmakers started being regulated on fleet emissions.’
The promised low carbon land will arrive, but we must grow awareness and positively communicate the coming change.
What the Hub will do
Here at the Hub, we will do all we can to get the message out to the market. We will seek official guidance from BEIS, and we will research and publish our own guidance, – for example the recent SECR FAQs we’ve completed.
But as crucially, we need feedback from UK firms. What do you require to get up to speed with SECR? What resources do you need us to publish?
Our role is to help businesses understand and successfully act on SECR, and contribute to a lower carbon UK. Let’s all get talking about what SECR is, when it’s coming and how UK PLC as a whole can react.