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Defra Opens Consultations On Sustainability Reporting

The government is to open two consultations on how businesses can be helped to measure and report their carbon footprint, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced. The consultations relate to guidance for corporate sustainability reporting and mandatory emission reporting requirements.

New guidelines that aim to provide simplicity for businesses to show the general public and investors how they fare in terms of sustainability performance have been presented by environment minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach.

The draft proposals are based on current UK guidance on reporting on various issues regarding the environment and develop them to cover the so-called “key performance indicators”, such as emissions, air quality, use of natural resources, waste and protection of biodiversity.

Although reporting on green issues will remain voluntary in general, listed companies in the UK will have to start reporting on their carbon emissions from next year, under current government plans.

In an interview for Business Green, Lord Taylor explained that adopting a more responsible approach to the environment will be beneficial to UK businesses. He believes that by reporting on their impact on the environment, businesses can really stand out and make a positive impression on both consumers and investors.

In response to questions raised over the potential administrative burden imposed on businesses by the new requirements, Lord Taylor says that environmental issues cannot be underestimated and regarded as “marginal” these days but need to engage everybody, including businesses.

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