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Building greener data centres to gain environmental creds and avoid vilification as an enviro-criminal is a step closer with availability of the BREEAM data centre assessment method. BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the UK's foremost provider of environmental building assessments and is …

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A "charity", eh?

I do sometimes wonder, what justification can be made for such an obviously commercial operation being able to hang onto charitable status. It's a Hell of a ticket, if you can get onto it, you know?

I think many readers, who are unaware of it, would be quite surprised to discover what sort of operation you can run, and still be classed as a charity - or quite what the scale of non-taxation and other get-outs are afforded to these businesses. The best bit is that, being 'charities' they are only really accountable to their boards - who aren't paid anything, anyway - and who are only required to examine the business every few years or so.

Not only are these businesses spared vast swathes of commercial taxation, but they are actually prohibited from having shareholders, paying a of dividend, or even turning a profit (sorry, I meant 'surplus' - since that's what "having millions of pounds, left over, that you couldn't think of anything to spend it on" is called in these 'charitable' circles). Competing against one of these bodies as a regular business can be a nigh impossibility. Imagine it: your competitor is an organisation which is forbidden from even being efficient or successful, in terms recognisable by the standards of a regular business.

I used to work for one of these charities, and it really was quite surprising, what sorts of jollies you could find yourself on the receiving end of, once it was discovered that we might be on the way to another record 'surplus'. Now, there are many good and worthwhile bodies who exist in a charitable status, of course - and as an ex-benefactor of all this dubious carry on, I cannot claim myself amongst the blameless. So, I do not question their merits, but only whether some of them deserve to occupy the same taxation and legislation category as Oxfam, say, or Save The Children (and there are those who decry the more commercial or political activities, of even those organisations).

Take a look at this lot. They are an ex-government agency, which makes its money selling advice on how to get your data centres past a self-defined set of eco standards... Except they don't have to make any money - just pay every one who works for them their salaies, and break even, each year. If you think about it, it's small wonder they are "UK's foremost provider of environmental building assessments".

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