Small Businesses Targeted by UK Government for CO2 Reporting

01 October 2009

Today, the UK Government published detailed guidelines for all businesses on how to report on their carbon emissions. I was pleased to see the report covers the scope, data collection, content, and format of reporting. It's a clear indication of the expectation that the Government has of UK business and the guidelines certainly fulfil their obligations, as set out in the recent Climate Change Act. By December 2010 the Government will outline the benefit that carbon emissions reporting will deliver in the war on climate change. By April 2012, the likely introduction of mandatory legislation could impact your company.

However, more interestingly the main publication (73 pages) was accompanied by a summary guide for small businesses. This finally acknowledges the important role that the 1.7 million small companies play in the UK as consumers and emitters of carbon emissions.  Perhaps it also recognises that a greater number of large organisations are looking to their supply chain to cut their emissions too. The DECC web site features a bed and breakfast as a case study to promote the benefits of carbon reporting.  These guidelines firmly put smaller organisations on the Government radar and it will be interesting to see whether the potential changes to the Companies Act in 2012 will include mandatory CO2 reporting for small companies.

On another note, I was also pleased to see the report acknowledge the role that good systems can play in providing carbon reporting. It states that "Ideally, GHG reporting should be integrated into existing reporting tools and processes of your organisation".  The guidelines also sensibly align the emissions reporting periods with the company's financial reporting periods.  Only last month we learnt that 16 of the world's leading accounting bodies were endorsing the principles of the Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability Forum.  Professional bodies such as the ACCA were making clear noises about the synergy between the accounts function and the need for carbon reporting within businesses.  It seems that sensibly the world is looking to extend the role of the finance team to encompass the reporting requirements on carbon. 

It's also good to see UK businesses being directed to use Defra conversion tables - something which we at Access adopted in the release of our Accounting for Carbon Emissions (ACE) software back in February 2008.

Kevin Misselbrook
Customer Services Director

Kevin MisselbrookKevin Misselbrook, Customer Services Director

As customer services director I've overall responsibility for the delivery of customer services and support for Access UK. I've been with Access since 1997, initially joining as a project manager. I sit on the General Council of trade body BASDA (Business Application Software Developers Association) and actively engage in their Green Special Interest Group. I also serve on the ICAEW IT Faculty committee which aims to provide education and interaction on IT amongst the accountancy profession.

 

Comments

  1. Mohamed El Fayoumi commented, 19 May 2012

    Dear Sir,

    In regards to your article I would like to know whether the law for the small business to represent a report for the CO2 emission has been passed and if yes where can I finds this information.

    Thank you in advance

  2. Kevin Misselbrook commented, 21 May 2012

    Although the Climate Change Act set out that the Government would need to table their plans for carbon reporting by April 2012 they have been strangely remiss in meeting their obligations. Consultation has taken place but report and recommendations have yet to emerge. Defra offer some guidelines for small businesses here, but there has been no further activity in this sector.

  3. Kevin Misselbrook commented, 08 June 2012

    Just an update on this. We have now found a very brief report from the Govt on this topic. Essentially they are stating that they are unable to make a decision at the moment as they are still evdience gathering. There are rumours that the Government want to scrap the current CRC scheme (Carbon Reductions Commitment) - which is viewed as being onerous on businesses with a high cost of administration. It may well be that the introduction of mandatory carbon accounting will form part of any proposal to revise or scrap the CRC scheme. Links to the Defra report are below :

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13718-company-reporting-ghg-emissions.pdf

  4. Kevin Misselbrook commented, 08 June 2012

    Just an update on this. We have now found a very brief report from the Govt on this topic. Essentially they are stating that they are unable to make a decision at the moment as they are still evdience gathering. There are rumours that the Government want to scrap the current CRC scheme (Carbon Reductions Commitment) - which is viewed as being onerous on businesses with a high cost of administration. It may well be that the introduction of mandatory carbon accounting will form part of any proposal to revise or scrap the CRC scheme. Links to the Defra report are below :

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13718-company-reporting-ghg-emissions.pdf

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