UK listed companies failing on carbon footprint reporting

10 November, 2010

UK-listed companies are failing to meet guidelines from government on how to
monitor their greenhouse gas emissions, according to Deloitte.

The
business advisory firm’s analysis of 100 UK listed
companies, randomly selected, reveals that none were adequately addressing the
environmental impact of their operations.

The survey showed that
57% of companies reported carbon emissions to some degree but not effectively.
Only 37% provided statistics on how much they pollute, while just one in five
had set a specific target for keeping their carbon emissions down.

Furthermore, only 8% of the companies stated that a third party had reviewed
the way they tackle green issues.

The firms should be following the
current UK guidance set out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs (Defra) but, according to this study, a significant overhaul of the
existing carbon reporting practices will be required if these guidelines become
mandatory. The UK Climate Change Act 2008 requires government to determine
whether to mandate reporting on greenhouse emissions from April 2012.

Jenny Harrison, a director in Deloitte’s energy practice and carbon
reporting and assurance team, said: “The survey shows a high degree of
variation in carbon reporting practices, and many companies, particularly those
outside the top tier of FTSE companies, could do better.

“The
wide variety of both formal and informal carbon reporting practices identified
does not facilitate comparison between companies or industry sectors, making it
difficult to evaluate the relative performance of companies in monitoring and
reducing their carbon footprint, a primary goal of the government in publishing
the Defra guidance.”

For the first time this year, a regulatory
framework for reporting and the audit regime that this entails will impact UK
companies within the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

Consequently, the
quality of carbon data reported will come under closer scrutiny and the risks
that arise from errors will increase, according to Deloitte.

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