Centrica scheme allows staff to offset their own CO2 emissions

Energy giant Centrica has signed up to a scheme that allows employees to make monthly payments to offset their own carbon emissions.

Staff can calculate their carbon footprint online and compensate the environment for the pollution they create by ‘giving as they earn’ through the firm’s flexible benefits programme.

The company, which owns British Gas, has signed a deal with technology provider Vebnet and charity PURE to create the initiative.

The charity estimates that, at today’s prices, £5 per month from every employee would eliminate more than one million tonnes of emissions a year. The average car emits about four tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Centrica already runs a scheme that encourages its employers to think about the amount of paper they use, how they travel to work and how they can save energy whenever possible.

Liz Dixon, reward manager at Centrica, said: “Many of our employees are very passionate about environmental issues, and this is a simple process that means they can take action to tackle climate change.

“Employees can work out their personal carbon footprint and they can use their flexible benefits allowance to offset it,” she added.

Marcus Underhill, head of flexible benefits at Vebnet, said: “Companies are under increasing pressure to make interventions when it comes to staff environmental activity. This process can be used as a salary-sacrifice scheme so organisations can gain maximum tax attractiveness on green contributions.”

PURE uses the donations to buy carbon credits and ‘retire’ them so they cannot be bought or sold by organisations that are heavy polluters in the future.

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