Carbon accounting must improve - report
British industry must find a consistent way of calculating and reporting carbon emissions, a lobby coalition of government, business and civil society representatives has said in a report.
Only 27% of FTSE 350 companies reveal their carbon emissions, and only 10% provide standardised data that meet the most basic requirements of reporting under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol making it is "extremely difficult" for investors to make valid comparisons , according to the Aldersgate group, whose members include water giant United Utilities, environmental consultants Atkins, the Environment Agency and Friends of the Earth.
The EU ETS remains the main driver for companies to disclose their carbon emissions, alongside UK and international and UK company reporting standards, which are little more than recommendations, voluntary measures and investors' pressure.
Investors are vulnerable to "green wash," however, as companies that fail to tackle their emissions choose not to reveal the figures and instead issue vague qualitative statements about actions in the area of climate change.
"The current lack of rules on the disclosure of carbon dioxide is impeding progress. Without it, those who take action won't reap the full rewards, and those who do nothing cannot be effectively challenged," said Adrian Wilkes, chairman of the Aldersgate Group.
"Without it, Government cannot know whether its carbon targets and in particular its carbon budgets as proposed in the Climate Change Bill are being achieved in corporate Britain."
A clearly defined standard with comparable data on carbon emissions for all large business operating in the UK would both drive and monitor progress, the report said.
Other recommendations of the Aldersgate Group report include:
The report also calls for all businesses listed on UK Stock Markets to be required to disclose:
The full report can be accessed here.