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Finance bosses oppose mandatory carbon reporting, a survey suggests

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Despite Government lobbying by many leading business groups, including the CBI, over a third (38%) of financial directors oppose the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting - according to a survey by Lex Autolease.

Giving further cause for concern, the poll of almost 500 FDs also revealed that nearly two thirds (63%) were not even aware of the Climate Change Act 2008, which obliges the Government to introduce mandatory carbon reporting for all UK businesses.

The same number of financial stakeholders (63%) also believes that mandatory carbon reporting would “make no difference” to their organisation, while a quarter (25%) think it will “inhibit business growth".

Mark Chessman, commercial director with responsibility for sustainability at Lex Autolease, said: “It’s clear that the business community is, at best, undecided on the benefits of mandatory reporting.

“At worst, there is likely to be significant opposition from FDs to any future legislation as they remain unconvinced of the benefits of carbon reporting with, at present, many believing it may even make organisations less competitive.

“This is a pessimistic view and one that isn’t shared by many other stakeholders who advocate carbon reporting on the basis that it would bring numerous business benefits, such as increased productivity, cost reduction and enhanced CSR over the longer term.

“For the fleet manager, it is going to be a huge task to get carbon reporting onto the boardroom table.

“But their message to executives is simple: Act now because, like it or not, mandatory reporting is on its way in one guise or another. The pay-off is that it will help the businesses further drive down emissions and C02-related taxes.

“Fleet managers must prompt board members to sit up and take notice, because, ultimately, the process of changing the fleet mix and its governing policy will take time. This will be a serious undertaking, requiring an important and active role for the fleet manager in many organisations.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is now consulting on its existing carbon energy reporting scheme (Carbon Reduction Commitment), but this fails to include significant areas of emissions such as those generated by transport.

In July last year, the CBI presented a response to the government’s consultation on greenhouse gases (GHG). In the paper, the organisation highlighted that only 22% of the FTSE all-share index voluntarily report on GHGs. As such, the CBI believes that mandatory reporting is necessary.

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