Firms failing to target CO2 beyond 2020

19th October 2011

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Engineering and metals ,
  • Chemicals ,
  • Manufacturing ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Reporting



Big businesses in the UK are doing more to cut carbon but are failing to set the long-term targets needed for the country to meet its 2050 commitments, says the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

In its annual analysis of emissions reporting by the FTSE 350 companies, the CDP reveals that while more are taking measures to reduce their carbon output, very few are planning beyond 2018.

Of the 236 companies providing information to the CDP this year, 91% confirm that they have activities in place to cut the amount of carbon they are producing, up from 69% last year, and 38% report reductions as a result, compared to just 22% in 2010.

However, while 66% say they now had specific targets in place for cutting emissions, just 15% have goals beyond 2020, with the vast majority of companies only focusing on cuts over the next decade.

“Business will play a crucial role in the UK government meeting its carbon budgets and so we need to see a greater take up of long-term emissions reduction measures,” warns the CDP’s CEO Paul Simpson.

According to the CDP, businesses need greater consistency from government over its approach to climate change if they are to convince investors and shareholders of the need to make long-term plans.

“There is a need for new government policies that are both clear and long-term in order to support business setting more ambitious targets and encouraging more emissions reduction activities,” says Simpson.

Business body, the CBI, agrees with Simpson arguing that firms are committed to tackling climate change but are being hampered by politics.

“It is hard to set targets beyond 2020 when there is still so much uncertainty coming from our politicians,” argues Dr Matthew Brown, the CBI’s head of energy and climate change.

“We need national and global action from our leaders to ensure we have a framework in which investors can make the right decisions and businesses can plan to decarbonise in a way that grows the economy.”

Newly-appointed Defra minister for climate change and sustainability, Lord Taylor, said: “One of Defra’s top priorities is to build a strong and sustainable green economy that is resilient to climate change. UK businesses are central to achieving this goal – some are already leading the world in carbon reporting and more and more are setting carbon reduction targets.”

The CDP report also highlights the important role of energy intensive sectors such as glassmaking and steel manufacturing in the UK meeting its 2050 targets. According to the CDP’s analysis, while these industrial businesses only make up 30% of the FTSE 350, those reporting to the CDP account for more than 70% of the total scope 1 and 2 emissions disclosed this year.

“Despite representing such a high proportion of emissions, only 55% of respondents from carbon intensive sectors stated that they set emissions targets,” says the CDP report. “This indicates that the government may have to intervene to generate further action in these sectors.”

The report also reveals a dramatic drop in the number of organisations having their carbon footprint independently verified from 44% in 2010, to just 25%. While the CDP states that the change has been as a result of it toughening the requirements “to reflect the importance of verification”, it also highlights the importance of verifying emissions saying the process “helps create certainty surrounding progress towards emissions reduction targets”.

Other findings in the report include a sustained level of senior-management responsibility for climate change and confirmation that 75% of emissions reduction activities achieve payback within three years.

To read the report in full visit the CDP website.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Four in five shoppers willing to pay ‘sustainability premium’

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close