Supermarket sector tops carbon reporting for second straight year

Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's have ranked amongst the top FTSE 100 companies for reporting and measuring carbon emissions, according to research released today.

The analysis, carried out by carbon management firm Carbon Clear, looked into how FTSE 100 companies measure, report and verify their carbon footprint, existing and planned strategies for reducing emissions, actual carbon reductions and work to engage stakeholders about their climate change programmes.

Scoring each company through publicly available information against 47 reporting criteria, the findings showed that the top 10 performers are Marks and Spencer, National Grid, Aviva, RSA, BSkyB, BT Group, Hammerson, Sainsbury, Whitbread, Kingfisher, Pearson and Vodafone.

According to the research, the supermarket sector is the best performer in the FTSE 100 for a second consecutive year, while the manufacturing, mining and metals and building materials sectors ranked bottom of the league table.

There was a significant range in results, with the highest score reaching 89% to the lowest of just 9%.

Companies scored best in the measurement, verification and reporting competency area whereas the lowest scores were in the carbon reduction competency area.

It also found that 83 companies had published a 2011 carbon report as of July 2012, while 64 of the FTSE 100 have their carbon data audited.

Further analysis showed that 41 companies report some Scope 3 emissions, 44 companies assess the risk of climate change to their business, 16 companies mention business or supply chain resilience to climate change and 61 companies report reductions compared to the previous year.

Best known for its consumer facing sustainability initiatives, Marks & Spencer's carbon management programme helped the company score highly in each competency area.

According to Carbon Clear, through ‘Plan A’, Marks and Spencer has established a solid and robust carbon management programme that encompasses all of their operational activities and is very much a part of their institutional approach to business.

The company is the only company in the FTSE 100 to be carbon neutral in accordance with the PAS 2060 standards and Marks and Spencer have committed to maintain this until March 2013.

Commenting on M&S' achievement, climate change manager, Carmel McQuaid, told edie: "Having a robust measurement process has been hugely important in keeping us focused and on track to becoming carbon neutral".

"Annual cycles of measuring and reporting, and people having to report back to an executive director level as to how we are doing against the targets, has been hugely motivating and helped encourage our colleagues to work together as a team with a supply base to deliver the energy efficiency reductions".

"The one common theme with what we have done on carbon is having a clear target and incorporating a very robust and transparent measurement, reporting and auditing system, which tends to drive results" she added.

Ranking second, National Grid has risen from joint 35th place with ten other companies in Carbon Clear’s 2011 FTSE 100 analysis to second place in the 2012 rankings.

Carbon Clear praised National Grid for working hard to improve measurement and reporting this year.

“There is evidence of significant senior management leadership in the company’s approach to climate change. National Grid prepared an analysis of likely climate impacts and adaptation approaches and established short and long term carbon reduction targets with interim measures to achieve them” it said.

Leigh Stringer


| building materials | carbon reduction | Energy Efficiency | manufacturing | mining | supply chain


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