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Poll reveals overwhelming support for businesses to report their carbon emissions

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The signatories state in the letter that they regard the decision on reporting as a litmus test for the Government’s wider commitment to better corporate governance and being the "greenest ever". The signatories to the letter include Aviva Investors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BSkyB, Cable & Wireless, Cisco, Grant Thornton, Knight Frank, M&S, Microsoft, National Grid, PepsiCo, Philips, Reed Elsevier, Thames Water, The Co-operative, TUI Travel, Veolia, Willmott Dixon, ACCA, Friends of the Earth and WWF.

Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group who wrote the letter and commissioned the poll, said: "The poll demonstrates overwhelming public support for new laws that require large businesses to report their carbon emissions. This reflects the need for greater corporate transparency on environmental and social impacts. The public expects companies to report more than just profits and bonuses."

"The good news is that businesses are also calling for a level playing field on carbon reporting. Voluntary frameworks have run their course and ironically it would simplify the burdens on responsible businesses for the Government to now signal a single mandatory requirement. The public understand we have carbon budgets and expect big business to report it’s contribution."

"It is exceptional for a policy to have such widespread support from business, civil society and the general public. Nick Clegg and the Conservative Party backed mandatory carbon reporting in Opposition and it is vital that mandatory reporting is implemented with no further delay."

Colin Baines, Campaigns Manager at The Co-operative Group. who signed the letter, said: "We welcome the Aldersgate Group’s poll. The message for Government should be clear, there is significant support for mandatory reporting from both business and the public, and it should be introduced as soon as possible."

"The Co-operative has just met its carbon emission reduction target of 35% against 2006 levels five years ahead of schedule. Key to this effective management of our climate change impact is the reporting and monitoring of emissions. We have been doing this for over a decade and if other large businesses still aren’t voluntarily reporting, it is unlikely they ever will."

The letter to Nick Clegg states that "businesses are seeking greater clarity from Government and it is essential that a decision be taken swiftly. With sustainability reporting a major theme of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the Government has the opportunity to take a leadership position".

The letter also states that:

"It is extremely disappointing that Defra reported to Parliament that no decision had been made as "Ministers require some additional time to consider this evidence to come to a decision". This is despite a four year evidence gathering process, including the publication of a consultation, impact assessment and external review undertaken by PwC."

"In addition independent analysis, commissioned by the Aldersgate Group, WWF, the Co-operative Group and Christian Aid, clearly demonstrates that there are significant additional net benefits to the economy that were absent from Defra’s original impact assessment."

"The introduction of mandatory GHG reporting would help to ensure greater accountability and transparency; create a level playing field, and help enable investors and consumers to make meaningful comparisons. It would further encourage business, which is responsible for nearly a third of total UK GHG emissions, to manage and reduce its carbon footprint, leading to reduced energy costs, increased transparency and a greater understanding of material climate risks and opportunities."

The Aldersgate Group is an alliance of leaders from business, politics and society that drives action for a sustainable economy.

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