Nearly half of the UK's top companies do not have targets on greenhouse gas emissions, despite years of legislation and campaigning on the issue, a study by the Carbon Trust has found.
Forty of the FTSE 100 either lack numerical targets on carbon dioxide, or their targets are for previous years and have now expired, without being renewed. This contrasts strongly with the UK's legislation on carbon dioxide, under which the government has set some of the world's most stringent targets on emissions reductions stretching to the 2020s and beyond.
Most of the carbon reduction targets that FTSE 100 companies have set for themselves are short-term, with goals for 2011 and 2013. About one-fifth relate to goals in 2018 or later.
One of the success stories of the legislation is Kingfisher, the UK parent company of B&Q, whose chief executive Ian Cheshire said the company's early embrace of stringent carbon goals has paid dividends. "Publishing definite targets and concrete objectives has helped to raise the bar," he said. "It's gone from a generic thing that people think is vaguely good to something measurable."