UK/EUROPE - Big business has scorned Tony Blair's call for green reporting, despite yesterday's launch of a new global standard for social and environmental accounting, according Friends of the Earth (FoE).
The launch of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the first step in establishing a standard for environmental and social reporting by corporations. However, according to FoE, reporting will remain voluntary so most will continue to do little or nothing.
In October 2000, in a keynote address to the CBI, Prime Minister Tony Blair told business leaders: “I would also like to see more reporting on environmental and social performance. I am issuing a challenge, today, to all of the top 350 companies to be publishing annual environment reports by the end of 2001”.
FoE said government figures indicate that only 79 of the top 350 companies (23%) produced substantive reports on their environmental performance by the deadline, and that only 24 (7%) of the other companies on the FTSE350 had indicated their intention to do so. Ten percent of the remaining top 350 companies mentioned the environment in their annual reports, but in many cases it was given only a few short paragraphs.
Environmental lobby groups are concerned that the Government may use the arrival of the GRI as a reason for not introducing mandatory rules.
France, in addition to Denmark and Holland, is the most recent EU country to pass a law requiring firms to report on social and environmental issues.
By Luke Clancy
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