Bill amendment could force business GHG disclosure

All companies would have to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emissions under legislation passed by the House of Lords.

An amendment to the Climate Change Bill agreed in the Lords instructs UK companies to disclose the figures in their annual reports

Campaigners for the introduction of such measures believe it will create a level playing field for UK businesses, make them more accountable to consumers and investors, and drive emission reductions.

Lord Whitty, who tabled the original amendment, told the House: "The targets in the Bill are not going to be delivered by legislation, by Governments, by and large, or, essentially, by individuals acting on their own through their own ethical considerations.

"They are going to be delivered by the main economic movers - namely private companies acting to meet those targets within the framework that the legislation and the Government set.

"For those companies to change the way in which they behave in relation to carbon and carbon equivalents, they need to ensure that they have proper, verifiable measures of what carbon and the carbon equivalent is and that they are built into their central motivation for their management, their staff and their researchers."

Lord Whitty is a member of the Aldersgate Group, a coalition of environment agencies, NGOs, think tanks and industry representatives, which has been leading a campaign for the introduction of mandatory reporting measures.

Andrew Raingold, public affairs manager for the Aldersgate Group, said: "It seems that Government is finally waking up to the fact that the current lack of rules is impeding progress.

"The Lords overwhelmingly supported the need for greater openness in the reporting of company emissions, creating a level playing field in the process."

Lord Rooker, speaking on behalf of Government, argued that many businesses already have to disclose emissions under the EU Emission Trading Scheme, and a lot of work is being done to support voluntary reporting.

He accepted the amendment without a vote, but it will now have to be agreed by MPs when the Bill is passed back to the Commons, before it becomes law.

Kate Martin



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