PRWeek carbon article prompts parliament debate

Pressure is growing on the Government to consider the environmental impact of the PR agencies used by its departments after a PRWeek article prompted two Parliamen­tary questions.

Peter Ainsworth, the shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, last week asked Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Hilary Armstrong, whether companies on the Central Office of Information roster would be forced to become carbon-neutral.

Armstrong responded that the COI was not enforcing carbon red­uction but would consider ‘sustainability factors’ when it next reviews its roster selection process. The department would not say when that would be.

But pressure from MPs makes changes – including the need for agencies to have carbon-reduction progra­mmes in place – likely.

Ainsworth told PRWeek: ‘We are constantly told the Government wants to put the environment first. The COI needs to use its own spending power to enforce environmental change.’

He read PRWeek’s exposé on the lack of PR agencies taking steps to become carbon-neutral (PRWeek, 10 Nov 2006). The article revealed that some were fin­ding competitive advantages in achieving carbon-neutrality.

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