Third of UK companies failing to report greenhouse gas emissions
UK - A third of the UK's largest companies have yet to report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Only 64% of public FTSE 350 companies reporting to CDP include greenhouse gas emissions data in their financial reports.
The CDP's FTSE 350 climate change report, entitled 'The Future of Reporting', reveals that 94% of companies in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) integrate climate change into their business strategies, compared with 49% of the remainder of the FTSE sample that discloses information to CDP.
Those companies that report high-quality information have made carbon management more strategically important across the business and are better prepared for regulation, with 80% of the CDLI already including GHG data in their financial reports.
Of the disclosure leaders, 74% consider themselves to have a strategic advantage relating to climate change, as opposed to 33% of UK reporting companies.
According to the CDP, good-quality reporting can also motivate companies to drive efficiency savings, manage risk and capitalise on opportunities.
Shareholders increasingly require information on environmental as well as economic issues, with 655 institutional investors with $78trn (€60.3trn) in assets now requesting companies disclose information to CDP.
Customers are also expecting their suppliers to provide this information - BT Group reported that, in 2012, its sustainability credentials were requested in £2.7bn worth of customer bids.
In this year's CDP FTSE 350 report, the following UK companies lead on carbon disclosure and performance: Anglo American, Diageo, Mondi, Morgan Crucible, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.
According to the CDP, the recent UK government proposal for mandatory reporting of GHG emissions in companies' annual reports marks an important development in the provision of environmental risk information to governments and investors to drive more effective decisions on how to allocate and protect our natural resources.
All companies listed on the London Stock Exchange will need to start putting in place systems and processes to capture and report on their emissions data, if they do not already do so.
But the CDP points out that the UK government's draft legislation does not currently specify a standardised reporting approach for compliance.
Furthermore, it does not demand companies make a full assessment of how climate change is expected to affect their business.
These points directly impact how much value investors will be able to derive from any mandatory reporting.
Without this being addressed, there is a risk the regulation will not reach its full potential, the CDP warns.
This year, 96% of the FTSE 100 and 69% of FTSE 350 responded to the investor request for information sent by CDP.
The report features emissions data from 238 companies and rates them according to their climate change transparency and quality of their emissions reductions and strategies, with the best ones entering CDP's CDLI.
The indices are used by investors to assess corporate preparedness for national or international emissions regulation and to guide investment decisions.
The report can be found here.