Sample of members call for mandatory reporting on greenhouse gas emissions

7 Jul

This week the British Safety Council responded to a consultation run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on whether regulations should be introduced to make it mandatory for some UK companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions.

In October 2010 we launched a membership survey on environmental management which established that almost 90% of members who responded indicated that, within their organisation, environmental management is managed alongside health and safety.

Given that so many of our members and stakeholders would be affected by the proposed regulations, we therefore felt it right that we should respond to the consultation. To this end, we recently approached some of our members to share their views and experiences on greenhouse gas emissions reporting and to help inform our response.

The consultation posed four different options for reporting emissions; one voluntary option and three mandatory. Most respondents clearly expressed a preference for mandatory reporting of emissions for all companies whose UK electricity consumption exceeds a threshold. It was felt that this would align to firms’ measuring and reporting energy consumption and would minimise the regulatory impact upon businesses as a whole, whilst conveying the business case to reduce consumption and make “CRC look less like an additional tax and more like something that will encourage energy awareness”.

There was evidence that not all organisations believed in the value of measuring and reporting GHG emissions, although some were aware of a financial business case. There were concerns regarding the demands upon companies’ time and resources in addition to other regulatory pressures, especially in the current economic context. Respondents also clearly expressed a preference for additional guidance to assist them to better understand their reporting obligations and expectations.

Whilst a focus on reporting will not in itself facilitate a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, bringing the measuring and reporting of emissions into the mainstream will be a step in the right direction if the UK is to achieve its carbon reduction targets.

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3 Responses to “Sample of members call for mandatory reporting on greenhouse gas emissions”

  1. Howard Dawes July 7, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Hi Paul – thanks for the update. I wonder whether the responses reflect the level of ‘maturity’ of environmental management practices in the organisation and the degree to which the organisation is affected by legislation. I can imagine that those businesses that are still, fortunately for them, relatively unaffected by environmental law will resist any mandatory reporting while those that are already captured will continually need to review and improve their measurement and monitoring activities to demonstrate performance improvement. For me, the benefit if this will be that it will (and should) result in improved efficiencies and savings for a business, not to mention the environmental benefits of reducing emissions and resource consumption. Thanks again for compiling this response.

  2. Howard Dawes July 8, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    By way of an update, IEMA have also just made available their reply to this GHG reporting consultation. Visit their website for information: http://www.iema.net/news/iemanews?aid=20054 . Not surprisingly IEMA ‘strongly’ favour mandatory reporting and have identified a string of tangible business benefits that can result. In line with my own personal response they also favour Option 3 for reporting purposes.

    Given the evidence they present that voluntary reporting has failed to increase reporting activity, assuming Defra receive similar responses, I can see wider mandatory reporting on the horizon for an increasing number of organisations.

  3. Maxime July 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    The most worrying is that it seems that more and more people don’t trust the media and environmental agencies anymore, all the more since the failure of the Copenhagen summit. I am currently working in carbon management company in South Africa (http://www.climateafrica.co.za/ , http://www.climatestandard.org/) and more and more people come up with stuff like “Why should we reduce our ghg emissions when volcanoes are responsible for more CO2 emissions than human activities?”. I don’t know where people hear that but i suspect anti-ecologist to be behind such statements. I did some research and volcanoes are responsible for 200 million tons of emissions whereas human activities represent 30 billion tons. I hope that the media will cover such questions more accurately, so that people become really aware of the problem.

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