Oil and fuel supplier Crown Oil has found that the transport and business sectors are the UK’s largest and third largest contributors of greenhouse gases, according to the most recent data in the report, 2017 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the company has suggested ways businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.

With 460.2 million tonnes of CO2 emitted in the UK in 2017, business and transport were among the slowest sectors in reducing their carbon footprint in 2017, compared with 2016, with the transport sector seeing no reduction in greenhouse gasses, while the business sector registered a two per cent decrease in CO2.

The research also shows that over 20 years, since 1999, light-duty vehicles (LDVs), railway and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are actually contributing more CO2 in 2017 than they were in 1999. LDVs have seen a 36 per cent increase in CO2 emissions since 1999, while railways registered an 18 per cent increase and HGVs contributed four per cent more CO2 than they did in 1999.

Meanwhile, land use is now absorbing more CO2 than in 1999, by a measure of 189 per cent.

Overall, CO2 emissions have reduced by 47 per cent compared to 10 years ago, when the UK produced 708.2 million tonnes of CO2 – mostly from decreased reliance of coal in the energy supply sector, which used to be the UK’s ‘dirtiest’ sector.

Matt Greensmith, Managing Director, Crown Oil remarked: “We live in a world where we need to balance the industrial possibilities that hydrocarbon fuels offer; however, we also need to recognise that we only have one planet to live on. That’s why Crown Oil has a dedicated research and development team working hard to come up with more efficient fuels for our customers. The benefit is two-fold: more efficient fuels are cost-effective and deliver better value for money, but the main benefit is lower CO2 emissions.”

He added: “We’ve seen in other aspects of life how switching to more energy efficient alternatives – be that electric cars, cleaner power stations, or even electric trucks, ships and other commercial vehicles – is the way forward, but there’s no room for complacency. Any avenue for creating a cleaner planet must be explored and at Crown Oil, we want to be at the forefront of creating a greener planet.”

 Sector 1999 2009 2016 2017 Year on Year Change (%) 10-yr Change (%) 20-yr Change (%)
Energy supply 212.6 200.4 121.8 112.6 -8% -44% -47%
Business 114.9 91.2 81.4 80.1 -2% -12% -30%
Transport 135.1 126.4 125.9 125.9 0% 0% -7%
Public 12.8 8.8 8.2 7.8 -4% -12% -39%
Residential 88.4 78 69.8 66.9 -4% -14% -24%
Agriculture 52.8 44.4 45.2 45.6 1% 3% -14%
Industrial processes 29.9 11.8 10.6 10.8 2% -8% -64%
Land use, land use change and forestry -3.4 -8.8 -9.8 -9.9 1% 12% 189%
Waste management 65.2 34.3 20 20.3 1% -41% -69%
Grand Total 708.2 586.7 473.1 460.2 -3% -22% -35%

Reducing carbon footprints

Greensmith noted the unavoidable CO2 that fuels emit, and suggested how businesses that rely on fuels can reduce their carbon footprint

  1. Better fuels

Acknowledging how the business and transport sectors can benefit from better fuels, he shared various products available at Crown Oil that will aid businesses to lower their CO2 emissions when it comes to their heating, power generation and fleet fuelling requirements.

Greensmith explained: “Most businesses will use red diesel or kerosene for their heating and power generation requirements, while the road transport sector relies on regular diesel to fuel their fleets. However, many will not know that there are more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives to diesel and kerosene, and often these alternatives are fully interchangeable. What’s more, as a fuel supplying business, we’ve noticed that 20 per cent of our customers made the switch to IHO in 2018 and haven’t looked back, showing that the benefits are there to be reaped.”

He also noted that businesses that rely on fuel should consider alternatives to heating oils, such as carbon offset red diesel; industrial heating oil (IHO); biofuel; and clean-burning kerosene.

He adds that for road-going vehicles, biodiesel is a renewable alternative to regular diesel for trucks that have been retrofitted to run on this fuel.

On top of cleaner fuels, Greensmith revealed that fuel management services are a consideration to help businesses that rely on fuel use their fuel in an optimised way.

  1. Carbon offsetting

A further aspect of reducing your carbon footprint is to engage in carbon offsetting your fuel use, such as purchasing carbon offset red diesel. “Carbon offset fuel is fuel that in purchasing it, you are helping to fund renewable energy projects all over the world,” Greensmith explained. “The benefits of this are that businesses can use it in their Corporate Social Responsibility Report as a carbon reduction commitment,” he added

  1. Modernising

If the fuel can’t be changed, Greensmith recommended businesses ensure all machinery, fleets and fuel-reliant equipment are as new as possible.

“It’s no secret that newer vehicles and machinery come with better technology and are more fuel-efficient than ever before, so if you can upgrade to something newer, it will help in the long run,” he said.

  1. Green energy

“Investing in solar or wind generation will also help businesses reduce their carbon footprint. What’s more, in the event that you produce more energy than you need, you can sell it back to the national grid and earn money in the process.”

  1. Recycling

Greensmith explained the value of looking into recycling: “Waste contributes to CO2, so businesses need to look at recycling to reduce their footprint. This can involve going paperless – not printing emails, switching to towels in kitchens and bathrooms; or ensuring that there are recycling bins on site to ensure that recyclable materials are recycled and not disposed of in landfill.”