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Government in a strong position to meet its carbon dioxide targets

18 December 2009

The Government has today (Friday 18 December 2009) announced it is expecting to meet its targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its occupied buildings. The announcement comes as the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) publishes key performance data on Whitehall’s own sustainability targets and as the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) publishes its commentary on Government performance.

Data, signed off by Permanent Secretaries, shows last financial year there was a 10% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from offices relative to a 1999/00 baseline (compared to 6.3% the previous year). According to latest projections, which are built up from departmental plans, the Government is in a robust position to exceed its current target of 12.5% by the end of March 2011 and can achieve a 17.8% reduction in carbon emissions against the baseline.

Commenting on the figures, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ian Pearson MP said:

“The figures released today demonstrate the strong commitment and progress being made across Whitehall to address the crucial matter of reducing the environmental impact of Government’s day-to-day business operations.

“We are dedicated to encouraging more radical and innovative approaches to tackling negative impacts on the environment, and we will announce new targets for Whitehall next year, following a comprehensive review, to ensure they remain relevant, ambitious and lead best practice.”

Rebecca Willis, Vice Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, said:

“It’s great to see the progress that has been made in the last twelve months, thanks to considerable efforts from Government. We have seen improvements from road transport, water, waste and recycling targets. The next task for Government is to get to grips with its supply chain, and to look at the performance of all Government agencies, including its non-departmental public bodies.

“The world is coming to understand the urgent need to cut carbon dioxide emissions and live within environmental limits. The Government now needs to make sure that its own performance matches the scale of the challenge.”

The Government’s Chief Sustainability Officer, William Jordan said:

“Continued improvement is being made by departments on achieving their targets on sustainability, and I congratulate those who have contributed to the successes shown in the data we have published today. These demonstrate significant improvements in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from road vehicles, reducing waste and water consumption, and increasing recycling. We are confident that if departments carry on the implementation of a number of strategies for sustainable operations that Government will exceed all of its targets.”

The Sustainable Development in Government 2009 data and a copy of the Delivery Plan Update, which describes the work government will do to continue to improve performance, can be accessed from the OGC website from 9am 18th December by following this link:

» More of the SDC's commentary

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