UK - Carbon reporting to be mandatory


The UK government has bowed to backbench pressure and amended the Climate Change Bill to incorporate carbon emissions in the business review.

All quoted companies will now have to include information on the amount of emissions produced - including its fleet, on-site energy use, business travel and on-site equipment. The move will become statutory this summer.

Conservative spokesman for business enterprise and regulatory reform Alan Duncan said - "the idea of carbon reporting sounds a good idea, but we don't currently have a standard auditing process for carbon. So, until such a mechanism is established, it's impossible to expect businesses to comply - particularly smaller businesses that are already overwhelmed by heaps of red tape."

Backbenchers and other organisations such as Christian Aid believe that current environmental reporting requirements are too weak in order to meet the Climate Change Bill target of reductions - 26%-32% by 2020 and 60% by 2050.

Eliot Whittington, political adviser at Christian Aid, said - "We want government to make environmental reporting mandatory - not voluntary."

The CBI endorsed the mandatory reporting amendment, but doesn't believe that it will be implemented until 2013. The change will be represented in the Commons this month and is unlikely to be dropped. A Whitehall source believes that it would be "highly embarrassing" if it did not go through.

Alistair Darling, in his first budget, earlier this year announced that there could be plans to amend the Climate Change Bill by increasing the reduction to 80% by 2050.