UK businesses call for compulsory carbon reporting

Green handshake
Whose green claims can we trust, and how do we measure them?

Business leaders say compulsory carbon reporting would help tackle the rising concern about corporate greenwashing

BT, Aviva and Microsoft among host of big corporations urging the Government to make reporting on carbon emissions a legal requirement by the end of 2010

Business leaders are lobbying the Government to force all large organisations to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions.

Almost two-thirds of the UK's biggest 350 companies refuse to reveal or publish reduction targets for their carbon emissions, including well-known brands such as Carphone Warehouse and British American Tobacco.

Although the number of companies reporting emissions through the not-for-profit Carbon Disclosure Project has been rising, business leaders say it is unfair that many ignore the request.

The influential Aldersgate Group of businesses and environmental NGOs has written a letter on behalf of more than 50 organisations urging the business secretary Vince Cable to 'create a level playing field', address concerns about 'corporate green washing' and allow consumers and investors to make 'meaningful comparisons'.

'Voluntary initiatives have had some success in mobilising the UK’s biggest organisations to address their environmental impact more fully...The urgency of climate change demands much more rapid progress to be made,' says the letter.

Pre-election pledge

Before the election, the Conservative Party had promised to force 'the largest companies' to report on carbon emissions. However, it has yet to announce any such measure.

'It is hard to see how the Government’s green ambitions will be met without more robust measurement and reporting of carbon emissions,' said Aldersgate Group chairman Peter Young, who added that the cost to businesses was 'minimal' and that they should see carbon reporting as a way of 'identifying cost savings and opportunities'.

Under the Climate Change Act, the Government must put forward regulations for mandatory carbon reporting by 2012 or explain to Parliament why this has not been done.

Useful links

The Aldersgate Group letter in full

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