Friday, 20 June 2008

Call for Carbon Reporting

One of the themes of the recent report we published is the need for IT companies to make an assessment of their carbon footprint now (they should have done it already) but more importantly to publish the information in a form that makes it comparable with others.

It's good, then, to see that lobby group Aldersgate has come to the same conclusion. The Aldersgate Group is a UK coalition of environmental agencies, NGOs, institutional investors, industry representatives and MPs who "believe that high environmental standards will be a major part of future economic growth and international competitiveness" with which I couldn't agree more.

The group has written to the Prime Minister supporting an amendment to the Climate Change Bill which calls for mandatory carbon reporting, but which the government has been backing away from. The group say in the letter that "A mandatory standard would create a level playing field, allowing consumers and investors to make meaningful comparisons, and also allow the London Stock Market to become a world leader in carbon accounting and reporting". It was also pointed out that the move was supported by 82% of delegates at the last CBI (Confederation of British Industry - the leading employers organisation) conference.

In terms of achieving reductions in emissions this would clearly be a leap forward. One problem is lack of standards around measuring and reporting, although de-facto standards are emerging, such as the GHG Protocol and Carbon Disclosure Project. The problem was highlighted in our report by the fact that of the top 42 software and IT services (SITS) companies we looked at (based on PAC's worldwide rankings plus top players in Europe, UK, France and Germany) who responded to the CDP survey, only 12 provided comparable global data on carbon emissions. Even fewer had emissions reductions targets, which are almost impossible to compare.

If reporting was made mandatory it would quickly take hold and be adopted around the world. It would also need significant IT input to count and monitor emissions. Indeed it would rapidly open up an entire carbon reporting and management application infrastructure.

© The Green IT Review

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