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

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine