Corporate greenhouse gas reporting gathers pace

UK unveils national indicators aimed at fostering reduction as work starts towards international standard

A set of guidelines to help British companies report on greenhouse gas emissions was unveiled by UK environment minister Michael Meacher yesterday. The guidelines, the first at national level to follow a general model laid out 18 months ago by UNEP and London-based investment firm NPI, were presented at the WHO Environment and Health Conference in London. "The step-by-step guidance and practical case studies…will help each business to play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, whether on a voluntary basis or in response to regulatory requirements, emissions trading or taxation," Mr Meacher said. Action by business could make a significant contribution to meeting the UK's target under the Kyoto agreement of cutting emissions by 12.5% from 1990 levels by 2008. Industry, commerce, transport for business purposes and landfilling together account for 45% of the UK's greenhouse gas output, the environment ministry estimates.

* Meanwhile, an international group of large companies and environmental groups has agreed to develop an international standard for reporting corporate greenhouse gas emissions. Coordinated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the USA-based World Resources Institute (WRI), the initiative is aimed at helping businesses to estimate their emissions reliably, identify reduction opportunities and assess progress over time. It would also provide a foundation for companies to participate in future domestic or international greenhouse gas trading schemes, the group says. Work is due to start later this month to define a protocol on ways of measuring emissions, which is due for completion by the end of the year.

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