Posted by Christine St John Cox, Knowledge Leader: Carbon Management on 22 June 2012
On Wednesday the UK Government announced the outcome of its consultation on greenhouse gas
company reporting. They announced that from the start of the next financial year, April 2013, all businesses
listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
This bold step means that the UK is going to be the first country in the world to ask all quoted businesses to automatically report all their emissions.
So what does it mean for business? Well, it means that those already reporting their emissions will now need to do so in a consistent manner. And, for the first time, their emissions reporting will be totally transparent, allowing comparison with other businesses, and highlighting progress improvements (or failures) year-on-year.
Interestingly it is estimated that over half of UK quoted companies are reporting (2010/11) some information on their GHG emissions. However the Environment Agency’s most recent report on Environmental Disclosures by quoted companies shows that in 2009/10 only 22% were reporting this information in accordance with Government guidance. This shows that to date even the most proactive quoted businesses have only been reporting part data.
Some will consider this just another administrative burden for businesses that are already reporting part emissions through CRC, CCAs or even EU ETS. But I believe that expanding the reporting requirements can only offer more opportunities to businesses to realise efficiencies and savings. I am sure you would agree that reporting GHG emissions is the first step to identifying opportunities for reduction?
There is also a risk management aspect. Consistent transparent reporting will reduce exposure to future climate change legislation, and increase information for investors to base their short and long term decisions on. Investors will be able to assess a business not only on its financial performance but on its current emissions performance and future emissions risks.
You can read the announcement in full here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/economy/business-efficiency/reporting/