Companies are missing out on financial opportunities related to greenhouse gas emission reporting
According to research by greenhouse gas management company, Greenergy, out of 50 UK companies surveyed, only 26 reported comprehensively on greenhouse gas emissions, with many companies missing out on the financial benefits associated with greenhouse gas reduction projects.
The authors of the study have graded companies using a number of criteria, such as how many of the ‘basket of six’ Kyoto Protocol gases are reported on, whether figures are provided for transport emissions, and the presence of emission forecasts. All of the 26 companies that reported on greenhouse gas emissions provided information on carbon dioxide emissions from site energy use, and 56% of the companies also reported on transport emissions, with 59% analysing changes in emissions.
However, only 20% reported on the ‘basket of six’ Kyoto gases, such as methane and hydroflurocarbons, and only 7% gave a forecast of emissions over the Kyoto commitment period from 2008 to 2012.
“With more companies reporting on their environmental performance we would expect to see an increasing focus on their carbon footprint – their greenhouse gas emissions – as these emissions can be an asset or a liability,” said Dr Andy Kerr, Policy Director at Greenergy Carbon Partners. “However, our survey found that few companies consistently applied the key principles of financial reporting to greenhouse gas reporting – transparency, clarity and coherence.”
Kerr warns that companies underestimating the importance of emissions reporting do so at their own risk. “We’ve seen some companies being downgraded by the financial community because of their climate change risk exposure,” he said. “Because of this we believe it is important that companies provide their stakeholders, in particular investors, with good information on their greenhouse gas management strategy – inputs, outputs and reduction options.”
Of the companies studied, Shell achieved by far the highest ranking, providing comprehensive accounting of all six Kyoto gases. Second was Scottish Power, whose reporting included excellent information on emission from its vehicle fleet and business mileage, with BP – who provided third-party verification of emissions – third. Other companies which were highly commended include IBM, for their robust target setting for greenhouse gas emissions cuts, and the Western Mining Company for their emission forecasting.