UK Business Leaders Do Not Have Time For Environmental Questionnaires

Source: Trucost, 23 August 2002

Research* launched today shows that business leaders are not taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. The research, by Trucost, also reveals that 50% of business leaders think they spend too much time completing environmental questionnaires.

Suppliers are on the environmental radar for the first time. 79% percent believe they should measure the environmental impact of their suppliers, although only 32% would change suppliers who were found to be damaging the environment.

Simon Thomas, chairman, Trucost says: "Environmental disclosure is becoming increasingly important. Our survey found that only half of business leaders are aware of the environmental reporting clause in the government’s Modernising Company Law White Paper. This clause is expected to compel at least the 1,000 largest UK companies to report on their environmental performance.

Thomas concludes: "Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State, DEFRA, emphasised the importance of these proposed changes in a recent speech outlining the UK government’s position in advance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development being held later this month in Johannesburg. Organisations are now under pressure from NGOs to demonstrate that they are measuring environmental impact of the whole supply chain and taking action, not just demonstrating a commitment to environmental policies at head office."

The Trucost Environmental System, which launches in August, is the first rating tool to measure the environmental performance of an entire organisation, including that of its supply chain. It represents the total environmental performance of an organisation as a single percentage figure, that is comparable across industry sectors. 67% of business leaders believe this will be commercially beneficial.

For the first time, companies will be able to benchmark their environmental performance against peers and competitors. As total performance becomes transparent to all stakeholders, this could prove to be the much-needed driver for improvements.
50% of business leaders feel they spend too much time filling in environmental questionnaires rather than implementing environmental improvements

79% of business leaders believe they should measure the environmental performance of their suppliers

BUT 68% would not change suppliers who are damaging the environment

67% of business leaders believe there would be commercial benefit in having a single figure that allows them to benchmark their environmental impact against other companies