Carbon Trust cuts its free advisory services

Larger firms based in England will no longer receive free carbon-cutting advisory services in an attempt to expand paid-for services from the Carbon Trust.

Online PR News – 09-August-2010 – – In a bid to save money and prepare itself for looming government funding cuts, the Carbon Trust has stopped providing free carbon-cutting advice services to larger firms that qualify for its free advisory service, from those that spend £3m a year on energy to those with energy bills of less than £500,000.

Companies based in England with a yearly group energy bill of £500,000 or less will continue to receive free advisory services and carbon surveys. Also, the Carbon Trust will continue providing free carbon-cutting advice services for firms in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland because devolved governments will continue to make funding available for larger companies keen to work with the Carbon Trust.

Larger companies using the Carbon Trust's free advisory services will no longer be able to make use of a co-funding deal that previously saw the organisation cover 30% of the cost of advisory work. Firms now expected to pay for services could include FTSE 350 and mid-cap companies, or medium-sized manufacturing firms. New clients would be asked to pay anything between £1,000 for a few days of consultancy advice, to tens of thousands of pounds for months of advice designed to develop a green strategy.

Hugh Jones said the Carbon Trust expects to make "a modest saving" as a result of the cut in free carbon-cutting advisory services to the thresholds. He explained that the shift was prompted by the government's austerity drive and said he hoped to reposition the organization.

The slash of free advisory services follows recommendations from the new appointed Green Investment Bank Commission. According to it, organisations such as the Carbon Trust should be "rationalised" in order to help fund plans to establish a green investment bank (GIB). The decision to expand the number of services from the Carbon Trust appears to be designed to strengthen the organisation's position should its budget be cut or part of its operations be folded into the GIB.

Jones said:"We're always looking at avenues of funding and forward revenue so we can expand our services." Jones insisted that most of the Carbon Trust's existing and prospective clients will not be affected by the cut in advisory services as the "vast majority" has energy bills of less than £500,000.

He also insisted the scheme had the backing of business trade associations, including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). However, while a spokesman from the FSB said it welcomed the Carbon Trust's decision to refocus its free services on smaller businesses, he expressed concern that its wider cost-cutting exercise would mean there will be less money available to support small and medium-sized businesses.