ALL BUSINESSES listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions from the start of the next financial year under plans announced by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Rio+20 Summit today.
The Government missed a deadline in April to make a decision on the new rules, admitting that it needed more time to consider the changes and possible overlaps with the Carbon reduction Commitment and other regulation.
Nevertheless, this announcement will see the UK become the first country to make it compulsory for companies to include emissions data for their entire organisation in their annual reports.
The introduction of the reports, following consultations with leading businesses, will enable investors to see which companies are effectively managing the hidden long-term costs of greenhouse gas emissions.
The majority of businesses responding to the consultation support the change and government plans are also backed by leading employer and environmental organisations including the CBI and the Aldersgate Group.
Andrew Raingold, Aldersgate Group executive director, said detailed analysis shows that the reporting scheme will lead to huge cost savings for businesses as opportunities to reduce their energy use become more apparent.
The new regulations will be introduced from April 2013. They will be reviewed in 2015, before ministers decide whether to extend the approach to all large companies from 2016.
The UK is committed to cutting UK carbon emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2025 and reporting is seen as the first vital step for companies to make reductions in these emissions. It is estimated it will save four million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2021.
Announcing the scheme, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: Counting your business costs while hiding your greenhouse gas emissions is a false economy. British companies need to reduce their harmful emissions for the benefit of the planet, but many back our plans because being energy efficient makes good business sense too. It saves companies money on energy bills, improves their reputation with customers and helps them manage their long-term costs too.
Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman said investors are now looking hard at the green credentials of businesses, and the reporting of green house gas emissions will give them vital information as they decide where to invest their money
The discussions weve had with businesses show that they want to cut down their greenhouse gas emissions, and they want to be open and transparent about it. What they have asked for is a level playing field so that they can be fairly judged against one another, and we have delivered that today, she added.
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