Clegg urged to keep GHG reporting pledge

10th May 2012

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UK businesses and environment groups have called on the deputy prime minister to push for the introduction of mandatory greenhouse-gas (GHG) reporting, reminding him of his pre-election promises

The Aldersgate Group, a body of leading UK companies and environmental NGOs, has written to Nick Clegg criticising the government for its lack of movement on mandatory GHG reporting despite both Clegg and the Conservatives backing its introduction before being elected. In March, Defra deferred a decision, saying that it needed more time to weigh up the costs and benefits of requiring large businesses to publish their GHG emissions.

The letter to the deputy prime minister states that a legal requirement to disclose details of GHG discharges will encourage companies to redouble their efforts to cut carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency, by allowing investors and the general public able to easily compare organisations’ sustainability efforts.

The group also argues that mandating reporting has widespread public support, revealing that in a poll of 2,000 UK adults more than 75% said they believed big businesses should be forced to report their emissions.

“It is exceptional for a policy to have such widespread support from business, civil society and the general public,” said Peter Young, chair of the group. “This reflects the need for greater corporate transparency on environmental and social impacts. The public expects companies to report more than just profits and bonuses.”

In the letter, the group’s members, including IEMA, Microsoft, Asda and the WWF, lambast the government for postponing a decision on whether to introduce mandatory reporting to give ministers “additional time to consider evidence”.

“This is despite a four-year evidence gathering process, including the publication of a consultation, impact assessment and external review undertaken by PwC,” they write.

The group goes on to criticise Defra’s assessment of the impacts of introducing mandatory reporting, arguing that it is missed “significant additional benefits [it could bring] to the economy”.

The letter also warns that delaying the decision puts at risk the government’s broader sustainability efforts.

“For many organisations, the government’s position on mandatory GHG reporting is regarded as a litmus test for its wider commitment to better corporate governance and being the “greenest government ever”.


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