UK - Global index provider FTSE have launched a new set of criteria to combat climate change for its FTSE4Good index series.

The criteria will be implemented into the index series - which is used by investors to identify companies with positive records of corporate social responsibility(CSR) practice and by listed companies as a framework for best practice - on a phased basis over two years, with the first deadline in January 2008.

Just over 250 companies have been identified as having the highest impact on climate change but only 15-20% of these will meet already the climate change strategy, system, disclosure and performance requirements.

FTSE's in-house responsible investment unit will work directly with affected companies to help them understand the criteria and what they have to do in order to comply in what timeframes.

FTSE's CEO Mark Makepeace said: "working with our committee of SRI and CSR experts, FTSE is committed to keeping the criteria governing the FTSE4Good index series in line with CSR best practice.

"Climate change is an important issue for companies and investors alike, and investors understand these criteria will make an important contribution to helping companies manage their risks."

UK government minister, David Miliband MP, who is Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: "index companies and others have proven that environmental and social responsibility and responsibility towards shareholders can go together in a very dynamic way.

"But I think we are moving on from that now. Environmental and ethical concerns are becoming core businesses, not just something for a separate stability or CSR report once a year," he said.

"They are actually reshaping business strategies and operations, and it has become necessary rather than optional to incorporate environmental and ethical objectives as customers become more conscious of the consequences of their decisions."

As part of FTSE's ongoing strategy to raise the standards for entry into the index series, the criteria were developed together with The Climate Group, The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, The Carbon Trust, Forum for the Future and the World Wildlife Fund.

The FTSE4Good index series is designed in line with international indexing standards and aims to bring transparency to SRI indexing, making it easy to understand criteria and the qualification process.

All FTSE4Good fund-licensing revenues go to UNICEF to help children around the world. Since the launch of the index five years ago, created in response to the UK Pensions Act 2000, $2.5m(€1.9m) has gone to a number of UNICEF projects.