Government publishes GHG reporting regs for businesses

The Government has announced today that companies listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange must report their organisation's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as part of a reform shake-up to the Companies Act.

Announced earlier today by Business Minister Jo Swinson, from this year company reports will now need to include disclosures on greenhouse gas emissions “to encourage the companies to think about ways in which these can be reduced”.

Swinson said: “In order for shareholders to fully hold a company to account they need to have the right information to hand. Annual reports are a key tool for shareholders to get a good understanding as to how a company is performing, but they need to be produced in an open and transparent way”.

“This helps build the trust and confidence that shareholders, and the wider public, need to have in our top companies. By including additional information on human rights, gender representation and greenhouse gases, these changes can only strengthen that level of trust,” she added.

The regulations come into force on October 1 2013 meaning that companies will have to include carbon footprint data in the Directors’ Report of their company in the same way as their financial statements.

The changes will affect all annual reports produced for financial years ending on or after 30th September 2013 and the carbon emissions footprint must account for the 12 month reporting period.

Commenting on the announcement, executive director of policy at IEMA, Martin Baxter, said: “This is also an opportunity for a range of companies to also benefit from the efficiency and cost savings that GHG reporting can deliver.

“Although non-listed large companies and SMEs will all initially be outside the scope of the regulations, many will increasingly be asked to provide data by larger supply-chain client companies. Preparing for GHG accounting will enable these companies to retain clients and achieve competitive advantage,” he added.

According to carbon management company Carbon Clear, the requirement is likely to be just the first step in a more ambitious programme, with the Government reviewing progress in 2015 and potentially rolling the scheme out to include all large companies by 2016.

Leigh Stringer

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