Companies will have to tell all on carbon emissions
Backbenchers and green groups force Government to impose tougher climate-change reporting requirements on quoted firms
Sunday 06 April 2008
All quoted companies will be forced to detail carbon emissions in their annual reports after the Government caved in to backbench pressure.
An amendment added to the Climate Change Bill last week is expected to go on the statute books this summer. It requires quoted companies to include carbon emission information as part of their annual business reviews. These would list emissions from company cars, boilers and on-site equipment.
Lord Rooker, the environment minister, bowed to pressure from a coalition of backbench MPs and non-governmental organisations – among them Christian Aid and the WWF – to include the amendment at the end of the third reading in the House of Lords.
However, there is criticism that the amendment will add to what some see as the burden of regulation on British business. Alan Duncan, Conservative spokesman for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, said that it was "heavy-handed bureaucracy".
Mr Duncan added: "The idea of carbon reporting sounds a good idea but we don't currently have a standard auditing process for carbon. So until such a mechanism is established, it's impossible to expect businesses to comply – particularly smaller businesses that are already overwhelmed by heaps of red tape."
But the coalition between backbench MPS and other bodies argued that existing requirements on environmental reporting were too weak. Under the Companies Act, quoted companies have a responsibility to provide a business review alongside their annual reports. This should include information on the environmental and social impacts of their work, if any, but the amount of information is at the company's discretion.
Eliot Whittington, political adviser at Christian Aid, said: "We want government to make environmental reporting mandatory, not voluntary. The level of reporting is a power we want the Government to control."
Mr Whittington said that about 90 per cent of current reporting was satisfactory, but added that it was vital to capture that last 10 per cent.
Jon Trickett, a backbench Labour MP who has championed the amendment, added: "Corporations have been allowed to get away with green-washing their annual reports for too long."
The CBI said on Friday in response to the news that although it endorsed mandatory reporting and would like to see it implemented by 2013, the definition of carbon emissions was not sufficiently developed for the move to be introduced this year.
Many businesses are not going to like the obligations.
The Bill will be presented to the Commons later this month. The Government could drop the amendment but a Whitehall source suggested this was unlikely as it would be seen to be "highly embarrassing".
t The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act that comes into force today is expected to make it easier to secure corporate convictions. There have been seven in the past 40 years, but the Government believes the legislation could result in 12 convictions a year.
Adrian Bever, a partner at law firm Addleshaw Goddard, said that although fines for those found guilty of corporate man- slaughter could be unlimited, the likelihood was that it could average between 2.5 and 10 per cent of the company's turnover from the past three years.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 Northern Lights in the UK: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Christmas TV guide 2014: The best shows to watch from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey
Merry Xmas Everybody: Slade tops 'most-streamed' Spotify Christmas tunes of 2014
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever