Urgent need to promote more standardised corporate reporting on climate change

Source: DSR, 7 December 2007

Dutch Sustainability Research (DSR) and Respect published findings of a benchmarking study on climate change best practice. The research indicates that corporations are taking part in numerous interesting and innovative climate change related initiatives. However, overall climate change disclosure remains patchy and inconsistent and it therefore remains difficult to determine real leadership.
The report urges corporations and policy makers to promote accountability and stimulate best practice in the field of climate change. To this end, corporations and policy makers should further stimulate meaningful, focussed and standardised reporting on climate change. As comment to the benchmarking study, Kaj Embrén, partner of Respect, says:
All the companies in this study show that they have a formal statement on Climate Change, but only 45 % have formulated corporate targets and clear deadlines in terms of GHG-gases. So, it is important to strengthen the work with target setting in the companies further

DSR reviewed the performance of 20 corporations on a selected number of climate change best-practice indicators drawn from international guidelines. The study shows that companies are keen to demonstrate leadership in this field. There is no indication that climate change action compromises financial performance. The study however also reveals that climate change related reporting remains fragmented. Data needs to be gathered from various documents including annual reports, sustainability reports, and websites. Overall, it remains difficult to assess actual corporate leadership on climate change.
Hans-Ulrich Beck, Research Director at DSR, explains: “The difficulty stems mainly from the fact that data disclosed is not easily comparable given the scope and methodologies applied. Furthermore, current disclosure often fully omits material emission sources in particular from the use of products.”

The study highlights that the lack of transparency will make it difficult for climate change leaders to reap the full benefits of climate change leadership such as strengthened reputation or brand awareness. Similarly, there is little pressure for laggards to take action. In order to promote corporate leadership, steps need to be taken to increase corporate accountability and access to meaningful climate change data.

In order to promote transparency and corporate best-practice in the field of climate change, the study urges corporations and policy makers to take necessary steps to:
• Promote more consistent, meaningful, and focussed corporate reporting on climate change;
• Facilitate public access to corporate climate change data through a public climate change repository
• Provide more visibility to climate change leaders through third party climate change accountability/transparency certification; and
• Reward specific performance standards or emissions reduction achievements through third party climate change leadership labels

To access the entire report, please visit www.roadtocopenhagen.org or www.respecteurope.com

About Respect
Respect is a values-driven consultancy firm that inspires and assists the business community in becoming responsible corporate citizens. We offer strategic networking, management consulting within the whole field of sustainable business. It is our strong belief that companies with a long-term success ambition must have a systematic and action-oriented management strategy for environmental issues, social accountability and business ethics. We work both as a partner in sustainability issues in specific or general and as a supplier of a certain service. Our competences are found in the following programme areas:
• Respect Table
• Respect Climate
• Respect Human Rights
Respect was founded in 2000 by Kaj Embrén and Per-Uno Alm, together with Gordon and Anita Roddick, the founders of Body Shop. Respect is located in Stockholm, Malmö and London. Respect has long-term contracts with 30 multinational companies and with 20 large companies on the Swedish market.

Contact: Kaj Embrén, Respect office, London, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44(0)2088768007
Mobile: +44(0)7946670930


About Dutch Sustainability Research
DSR is the leading independent sustainability research organization for the financial sector in the Benelux serving a wide range of institutional investors. DSR conducts research on the sustainability performance of major Dutch and Belgium stock listed companies. DSR offers investors access to high-quality sustainability information and ratings on more than 2000 international companies in a user-friendly, flexible and transparent format. DSR also conducts specialized sustainability research for investors, non-governmental organisations, and other parties.

DSR is founding partner and shareholder of Sustainable Investment Research International, known as SiRi Company Ltd, the leading independent provider of socially responsible investment (SRI) research and analysis worldwide for institutional investors and financial professionals. SiRi Company provides detailed profiles and ratings on the largest global companies, and its Network Partners conduct research on more than 4000 companies worldwide. SiRi Company clients include some of the largest asset managers, insurance companies, pension funds, banks and social investment institutions in the world.

DSR, as a partner in European Corporate Governance Services, also provides governance research and proxy voting advice on European listed companies.