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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory