Calls for clear, consistent and comparable accounting standards have followed a move by the UK government to make carbon reporting mandatory for companies

Recent legislation in the UK introduces mandatory carbon emission reporting for companies listed on the stock exchange. The move has been welcomed by a cross section of industry and environmental groups.

The Aldersgate Group, a coalition of businesses, environmental groups and policy makers, has welcomed the changes but thinks more needs to be done in order to reliably compare different levels of carbon disclosure.

‘A clear, consistent, comparable definition of carbon disclosure is vital for progress,’ said the Group.

Adrian Wilkes, chairman of the Aldersgate Group, added: ‘The current lack of rules on the disclosure of carbon dioxide is impeding progress. Without it, those who take action won’t reap the full rewards, and those who do nothing cannot be effectively challenged.’

The Group believes that a common protocol that is consistent with international reporting standards would be a significant driver for change and competitive advantage in the corporate sector.

The intention of the new law is that carbon reporting standards will be enabled at some stage in the future.

Some UK businesses, who have already made commitments to reduce their emissions, also welcome the Government’s stance.

Dr Chris Tuppen, director of sustainable development at BT, said mandatory reporting would encourage businesses to understand how they can reduce their emissions. He also acknowledged that in order to reap the biggest rewards, investors would have to make use of the information to put pressure on companies to reduce their emissions.

The Climate Change Bill, which becomes law this year, provides a framework for the UK to achieve a 60 % reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.