Lots of talk about Environmental Disclosure, little action among FTSE All-share

The U.K.’s Environment Agency published “Environmental Disclosures,” its second major review of environmental reporting among FTSE companies. Since the last review, in 2004, significant progress has been made in reporting. Almost every single company, 98%, listed on the FTSE All-Share Index now mentions the environment in their annual reports, unfortunately, for some that’s all they do – mention the environment. For the year ending March 31, 2007, audited disclosures on environment was 35% of the companies on the Index. In 2004, whle 89% of companies mentioned the environment in their reporting only 10% released environmental disclosures in audited sections of their reports.

The Agency expressed concern that, despite the near-universal awareness of environmental issues in corporate reporting, there is still plenty of room for improvement in the amount of quantitative disclosures on environmental risks and opportunities to shareholders and potential investors. According to the research, conducted by Trucost, 42% of companies did disclose quantitative environmental data, a 15% increase since the 2004 survey, but only 29% of companies reported quantified figures on energy use or other climate change related topics. The study also found that only 15% of companies reported on any of the environmental performance indicators recommended by DEFRA, and only 3% included hard data on water, waste and climate change impacts. The full survey can be downloaded from The Environment Agency or Trucost, and a report on the U.K.’s environmental performance indicators is available in PDF format.

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