GHG reports from leading firms "highly inconsistent"

2nd May 2013

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Less than 40% of the world's largest firms are publishing complete greenhouse-gas (GHG) data and only one-fifth have their emissions independently verified, reveals study

Analysis of GHG reporting from the 800 biggest companies across the world reveals that just 37% are disclosing full data and applying the reporting principles outlined by the GHG Protocol.

The research, carried out by NGO Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), also confirms that firms are adopting a myriad of approaches to reporting, though European companies are more likely to provide comprehensive data than companies in other parts of the world.

Of the European firms examined, more than half publish complete scope 1 and 2 GHG data, and 35% have the figures independently verified. This compares with only 13% of companies from North American that report full, verified emissions, and just 11% of BRIC-based organisations.

EIO says that only 21% of the world’s biggest firms have their publicly available GHG data verified. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (63%) of the 800 companies assessed provide either incomplete data or no data at all.

“As the world shifts towards a low-carbon model it’s extremely important that we have access to a reliable, consistent and cross-comparable GHG emissions database on the world’s largest companies,” said Sam Gill, chief executive at EIO.

EIO uses its research to rank global firms in terms of their carbon emissions and how they report GHGs.

German chemical company BASF was ranked top for publishing complete and verified emissions data for all its scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions – the only company assessed to do so.

The study confirms that even the global giants, such as Dell, Glaxosmithkline and the L’Oreal Group, are still getting to grips with scope 3 emissions. Just one-third of companies in the global 800 ranking report one or more of the GHG Protocol’s 15 categories of scope 3 emissions and only 2%, report on five or more.

“This ought to be a wakeup call for companies,” said Gill. “Since the majority of total corporate emissions often come from scope 3 sources, large quantities of emissions are not being accounted for.

“Not only could this be a source of unmeasured risk for companies but it also means we are not getting the full picture in terms of corporate emissions.”

Eight of the top 10 firms in the rankings are European, with BT Group, in sixth place, the UK’s highest placed company.

EIO’s rankings came as UK firms awaited the introduction of new legislation imposing mandatory greenhouse gas reporting for the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The new Regulations, which were due to be laid before parliament in April, will be the first of their type in the world.

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