Defra offers four options for GHG reporting
The size and number of companies that will have to report their emissions is the subject of a new and far reaching carbon consultation.
The consultation into Green house Gas (GHG) emissions was launched today (May 11) by Defra.
The consultation sets out four options - one covering voluntary reporting and three looking at varying levels of mandatory reporting.
The Climate Change Act requires, by April 2012, that the Government introduce regulations under the Companies Act to require the inclusion of GHG emissions in company reporting, if not reasons have to be presented to Parliament.
The consultation closes on July 5 2 and a decision on the direction the Government will take is expected to be made in the autumn.
Option one enhanced voluntary reporting - according to the Environment agency more than 60% of FSTE all-share companies report emissions.
This option would look at using existing measurement schemes like the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to monitor emissions.
Option two, the weakest of the mandatory options would see GHG reporting introduced under the Companies Act of all companies listed on the official London Stock Exchange.
However, this would cover only about 1,100 companies and would, obviously, not cover any company that was not publically listed.
Options three, which is arguably the toughest, would also use the Companies Act, but this time to force all large public or private companies to report emission, between 17,000 and 31,000 companies would be affected.
Option four would see all UK companies with electricity usage of more than 6,000MW hour of electricity a year forced to report GHG.
This option would potentially affect only 4,000 companies, but the consultation mentions 'lowering' the MW level could bring the total amount of companies up to 15,000.
Launching the consultation, environment minister, Lord Henley, said: "We want to see more businesses reporting their emissions, but a balance has to be struck to ensure we are not adding any unnecessary burdens."
IEMA executive director for policy, Martin Baxter, welcomed the consultation, he said: "UK plc is at a turning point with environmental reporting, with the right support from Government we can move GHG reporting into the mainstream and turn this into a business opportunity by helping companies to reduce costs and improve their competitiveness.
"Over 80% of environmental practitioners we surveyed say that mandatory reporting of GHG emissions should be introduced for companies."