THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Should energy companies highlight environmental issues?

British Energy is hiring a green issues adviser and Shell publishes an environmental report

British Energy is hiring a green issues adviser and Shell publishes

an environmental report

Adrian Wilkes

Environment Policy Consultants

’They are treading difficult but essential ground. The Government wants

the top 350 companies in the UK to produce environmental reports

alongside annual financial reports, so the pressure is mounting on

British industry generally to understand their environmental impact and

examine how to reduce it. So the energy industry is taking an essential

step forward.’

Simon Propper

Environmental Context

’From extraction to generation, the energy sector cannot avoid

environmental issues. The industry has little need to be defensive. We

all rely on their product and most of us are guilty of wasting a large

proportion of it. The best strategy is to be open about the issues and

to demonstrate determination to use technical expertise to cut

emissions, increase efficiency and develop renewable alternatives.’

Steve Robinson

The Environment Council

’These are the things energy companies most need to talk about. If they

don’t, they are in denial: the difficulties will not go away. If it is

carbon dioxide fossil emissions which are the environmentally

contentious issue, there’s a lot more these companies can and should do

in regard to talking about it. The more forward-thinking companies

respond individually and they are the ones that will do best.’

Doug McRoberts

British Energy

’There’s a real business risk in not highlighting environmental issues,

and conversely, real business advantages in doing so. Our nuclear

stations are a key factor in mitigating global warming: they don’t

produce carbon dioxide. If Europe gets serious enough about global

warming to impose policies like carbon taxes, we’ll certainly want

decision-makers to recognise our green credentials.’

Nick Milton


’Energy companies are treading dangerous ground, not by highlighting

environmental issues, but by ignoring them when they make investment

decisions. Take BP, Shell and climate change. Both companies accept

there is a problem but continue to spend vast sums searching for new

oil. We must replace fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy supplies

BP and Shell could lead the way, but choose to only invest a fraction of

their income on renewables.’

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