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Get your pay and save the world...

Vebnet, a supplier of technology and support services for employee benefits, announced a ground-breaking service which enables 250,000 UK employees to help combat climate change directly through their monthly pay. By partnering with PURE - the Clean Planet Trust, individuals can calculate carbon emissions online and compensate the environment for their own carbon dioxide pollution by 'giving as they earn' through their flexible benefits programme provided by their employer.

By combining PURE's and Vebnet's online technology, employees from 170 UK companies* can use the initiative to take responsibility for their household and travel emissions. Employees can calculate their carbon footprint with a link to PURE technology, and then choose to offset all or part of it in monthly payments from their pay, in a tax efficient way, through their employer's use of Vebnet's flexible benefit technology.

Centrica, the leading energy company and owner of British Gas is one of the first organisations to support Vebnet's initiative, partnering with PURE - the Clean Planet Trust. Liz Dixon, one of Centrica's Reward Managers, comments, "Centrica's customers, employees and wider stakeholders expect us to demonstrate leadership on environmental issues. As we are moving to Vebnet for our flexible benefits scheme for 10,000 employees, we can now add PURE as a socially responsible give-as-you-earn benefit. Employees can work out their personal carbon footprint and they can use their flexible benefits allowance to offset it. Many of our employees are very passionate about environmental issues and this is a very simple process which means they can take action to tackle climate change.

"Based on the electricity we supply to UK households, Centrica already has the lowest carbon emissions of all the major energy suppliers. What's more, our employees are already actively involved in reducing their own carbon footprint through our Natural Capital initiative which encourages them to think about the amount of paper they use, how they travel to work and how they can save energy whenever possible. Carbon offsetting through flexible benefits just makes sense. It provides an extension to Natural Capital, empowering employees to show even more environmental responsibility."

Marcus Underhill, head of flexible benefits at Vebnet, explains, "Companies are under increasing pressure to make interventions when it comes to staff environmental activity. Now, they can take the lead with this easy process that supports their own corporate responsibility initiatives and help ensure benefits are linked to a social conscience. Also, this can be used as a salary-sacrifice scheme so organisations can gain maximum tax attractiveness on green contributions.

"PURE is unique because it is the first UK charity dedicated to combating climate change by carbon offsetting. It uses donations to buy Kyoto carbon credits and ensures each selected project has genuinely reduced carbon emissions. Then PURE cancels the credits so they can't be used by the world's big polluters, which increases the speed of emissions reduction."

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.