Advocates of corporate responsibility for carbon reduction have suffered a blow with the publication of a survey showing that the majority of financial managers from 200 large companies have acknowledged that their organisations do not yet know their carbon footprint.
Produced by the Carbon Trust Standard, it shows that 74% of respondents said that their organisation does not currently measure its carbon footprint, while 76% believe that all businesses will be legally obliged to pay for their emissions in the future. 40% said they believe this will happen in the next decade.
A surprisingly high 87% also said that their companies do not currently have publicly disclosed targets for carbon reduction. 48% said targets were in place but had not been made public.
The revelations were based on a UK-wide survey of senior financial managers from UK companies that employ more than 500 people. It ranged across six sectors: retail, professional services, financial services, technology and communications, fast moving consumer goods, and leisure and entertainment.
Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard (CTS) which commissioned the survey, said: "Businesses realise that the switch to a low carbon economy is happening (but) … they don't have all the data they require at the moment".
He said the CTS deliberately targeted financial managers because it believes their involvement will be vital in auditing carbon and forming strategies in a carbon constrained economy: "We're now seeing a real trend for companies to bring … the reporting of carbon into their financial departments because (they can bring)… the rigour and the audit to that data."