Disappointment over delay on GHG reporting

29th March 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Mitigation



Business and environment groups have criticised the government for further delaying a decision on whether to force companies to disclose their greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in their annual reports

Defra’s announcement that ministers remain undecided on whether to introduce mandatory reporting was labelled disappointing and frustrating by the CBI and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the government had to introduce legislation mandating GHG reporting by 31 March 2012 or publish an explanation as to why it had not done so. In a short document published on Tuesday (27 March), the environment department confirmed ministers were still considering the cost-benefit analysis of mandating reporting and responses to last year’s consultation which proffered four options (three mandatory and one voluntary) on firms’ reporting of GHGs.

IEMA, 90% of whose 15,000 members are in favour of mandatory GHG reporting, called the new delay unacceptable and called on the government to make a decision urgently.

“We are extremely disappointed … the government has had four years to make a decision, held a number of consultations and built up a strong evidence base that demonstrates that GHG reporting delivers cost savings for business and environmental benefits,” said Martin Baxter, IEMA’s executive director of policy.

“Both coalition parties when they were in opposition supported it. And yet, the government is now failing to make a decision, provide clear leadership and the long-term direction that will enable UK businesses to save money and deliver environmental benefits. The case is clear – GHG reporting is a win win decision for business and the environment – so why delay a decision any longer?” argued Baxter.

A survey of IEMA members in 2011 revealed that 69% of respondents agree that mandating GHG reporting will deliver cost savings for firms, 77% that it will deliver environmental benefits and 92% that it will help to provide a level playing field for organisations wanting to report their emissions.

IEMA’s position was echoed by business lobbying group the CBI.

“The CBI has long called for mandatory carbon reporting and we are frustrated, but not surprised, by this delay,” said Rhian Kelly, the CBI’s director for business environment policy.

“We urge the government to scrap the CRC and replace the reporting elements of it with mandatory carbon reporting. This should prove a key driver in reducing GHG emissions and provide a less complex, costly and bureaucratic process for businesses.”

Meanwhile, Paul Simpson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), argued that the failure to make a decision was effectively a decision not to introduce the mandatory reporting.

“By failing to make a concrete call, the UK government is not responding to market needs,” said Simpson. “The collection of accurate and comparable information from UK companies on climate change is a crucial step toward the creation of a low-carbon economy … [and] more galvanised and harmonised support would be hugely welcomed.”

In its report explaining the delay in coming to a decision, Defra stated that the evidence gathering process had taken longer than expected and that ministers were still analysing the results.

On its website the department says the final decision on whether to introduce new regulations on reporting as soon as possible.


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