Firms’ climate change reporting ‘patchy’

Corporate reporting of climate change issues is “patchy” – even among sustainability reporting’s leading lights, according to a report by FTSE Group and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.1

An analysis of 42 reports submitted to ACCA’s annual sustainability reporting awards by UK companies with medium and high climate impacts found fewer than half mentioned long-term climate targets. Five of the reports had no carbon data whatsoever and 20% lacked a climate change policy statement.

Examples of quantitative good practice included Centrica, which included its carbon dioxide emissions in relation to allowances under the EU emissions trading scheme (EUETS), and Anglo American, which provided a breakdown of emissions for managed companies with more than 80 sites.

Just two of the nine companies selling products with a high climate impact – cars, for example – included data on their products’ emissions and none mentioned product-related targets.

“This report does not make entirely comfortable reading,” said ACCA executive director Roger Adams. “Even the leading sustainability and CSR reporters are not reporting evenly across all the key climate change issues – especially on those relating to product impacts and transformational initiatives.”

Reporting on such initiatives focused on renewable energy generation and fuel switching.

  • A similar study by KPMG and the Global Reporting Initiative that looks at sustainability reports from 50 large companies around the world paints a similar picture.

    The selected firms claim to have compiled their reports to the GRI’s guidelines, but 10% did not mention climate change and 80% failed to mention any associated risks to their businesses.

    Companies were far quicker to acknowledge potential benefits. Two thirds mentioned business opportunities such as eco-friendly products and carbon trading schemes.