Big business set for environmental reporting

A survey that ranks the environmental performance of some of the world's largest companies will be dropping on corporate doormats all over the globe this week.

The lengthy process of compiling and analysing Business in the Community's annual Environment Index has now started and the trade organisation is expected to publish a summary and rankings next May.

The full report and detailed breakdown of results will follow hot on its heels in June.

The survey has been sent out to some 540 companies, including leading firms from the FTSE350, Dow Jones Index and from the ranks of BITC's own 750-strong membership.

Smaller firms from the BTIC are left out of the survey, as their inclusion would distort results and make like-for-like comparison difficult.

But while financial analysts continue to hold the position that environmental issues do not amount to material concerns and many view CSR as unnecessary fluff (see related story) questions remain as to why huge, robust companies agree to take part year on year.

"Companies get involved for a variety of different reasons and many of them see the benefits of doing so," BITC's Daianna Rincones told edie.

"It can help them clear up issues of eco-efficiency, looking at ways to use less resources and energy and thus reducing losses through waste.

"In the UK the Operating & Financial Review is providing a drive to report on non-financial risks, including environmental ones.

"The index gives companies a focus for that and good framework to look at their own environmental risks, look at what their peers are doing and look at what other companies are doing.

"It also allows them to assess emerging issues."

The index looks at a broad range of factors and takes into account both intention and action.

"It covers the whole gamut, really, we look at management issues such as whether a company has an environmental policy and whether there is anyone on the board with environmental responsibility to whether they set, and meet, targets," Ms Rincones told edie.

"Then we also cover performance areas looking more closely to climate change and waste issues.

"If companies are able to show improvements over three or five years, whether they are setting standards, whether the information is audited.

"Every company taking part is required to report on that, then they self-select any other impact areas they feel they might have."

When published the full report will include ten-year trends and sector

According to BITC, inclusion in the index helps companies communicate
environmental performance to both internal and external company
stakeholders and investors, and demonstrates participating companies'
commitment to transparency.

By Sam Bond



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