Why you should understand your GHG emissions

Posted by Christine St John Cox, Knowledge Leader: Carbon Management on 19 April 2012

Over the past year we have all watched the build-up to the Government’s decision on mandatory company reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and its implications for businesses. With the Climate Change Act requiring the Government to introduce mandatory reporting for businesses by 6 April 2012, or explain why they have not, we have been waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the consultation held last summer.


Just before the April deadline a short report was published by Defra: “Company reporting of greenhouse gas emissions”. It highlighted that mandatory company reporting will not be introduced at the present time. Why not? Because Government is still assessing the options before deciding what to do. And who can blame them, how would they be perceived if they introduced mandatory company reporting in the same week as launching a consultation on the simplification of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, with the aim being to limit the administrative burden on businesses.


But in my view, mandatory company reporting is still likely to be introduced sooner or later, for the following reasons:


1. We all know that until something gets measured, it cannot be effectively managed. If you don’t know how you are performing now, how can you set and achieve meaningful improvement targets? It is, therefore, in our commercial and national interests for businesses to accurately report their emissions.


2. The UK’s decision was not negative. It was just a confirmation that the Government has not yet come to a conclusion.


3. And finally, even if the UK doesn’t introduce mandatory reporting, in all likelihood, Europe will. Their recent consultation on environmental reporting sets a high standard.


Either way, understanding your emissions and reporting them stands a business in good stead now and into the future.

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