This follows today’s (March 27) announcement by government that it has not reached a decision on  whether or not it intends to introduce carbon reporting, which was planned to come into force on April 6 2012.

Despite growing support from UK businesses, green NGOs and politicians for the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting the Government has declined to make a decision and has now broken for Easter recess until April 16.

Instead, in a statement issued by Defra it says that despite extensive evidence, ministers require additional time to consider the findings to reach a decision regarding mandatory carbon reporting (MCR).

It states: “This evidence gathering process has taken longer than anticipated and the analysis of the results is ongoing as the costs and benefits are fully considered so ministers make an informed decision.”

Speaking to edie, Defra admitted that it is “hoping to make a decision in the coming months”.

As a result, many businesses have expressed disappointment, arguing that “strong evidence” demonstrates GHG reporting delivers both cost saving for businesses and environmental benefits.

According to research from the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), which conducted a poll of nearly 1,000 businesses, 90% of companies want mandatory reporting to be introduced, with 92% saying it will provide a simplified framework and level playing field for businesses reporting on their carbon emissions.

The results also show that 69% of respondents believe that GHG reporting will deliver costs savings, while 77% say it will provide environmental benefits. This research is also backed-up by Defra’s own consultation on MCR which concluded that nearly 65% of organisations support it in some form.

IEMA executive director Martin Baxter has criticised the move, saying numerous government consultations contain evidence which highlight the benefits of carbon reporting. He also argues that it has been four years since the Climate Change Act was published in 2008.

He said: “This is an unacceptable delay. We are extremely disappointed that the Government has failed to reach a decision on whether to make GHG reporting mandatory for business.

“The Government has had four years to make a decision, held a number of consultations, and built up a strong evidence base that demonstrates that GHG reporting delivers cost savings for business and environmental benefits. The Government needs to urgently make a decision on this.”

This view is echoed by WWF-UK which argues the Government is “fudging” the decision and warns the cost of inaction will increase over time and put greater pressure on businesses.

WWF-UK finance policy officer Raymond Dhirani, said: “An overwhelming majority of organisations, businesses and investors agree that mandatory carbon reporting is the right thing to do, but rather than giving certainty to businesses, the Government is simply fudging a decision.”

He also warns that a delay could “sap” investor confidence that the Government is “serious about a cleaner, greener economy”, adding that it represents a “deplorable lack of leadership”.

Meanwhile, CBI director for business environment policy Rhian Kelly branded the delay “frustrating”, but said that it would be difficult to bring in mandatory reporting while the “unworkable Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) stays in place”.

She said: “We urge the Government to scrap the CRC and replace the reporting elements of it with mandatory carbon reporting. This should prove a key driver in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and provide a less complex, costly and bureaucratic process for businesses.”

Carys Matthews

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