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
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss