Paul Barker's blog: 16 October 2013 - Carbon emissions reporting standards
16 October 2013
Paul Barker is editor of BusinessCar
The importance of carbon reporting a firm's fleet emissions is still to flush through, with the regulations in their infancy, but the biggest concern is the lack of firm and compelling guidance.
Publically listed organisations will have to show their emissions in the Directors' Report, but these won't be independently verified as long as the auditor thinks they're broadly in line with expectations.
And though the Government is encouraging smaller firms to voluntarily report their figures, there seems little logic in doing the extra work unless there's a business need to prove environmental credentials.
If there is a serious appetite for at least the biggest firms to show their emissions, then there needs to be a sensible and clear framework set out so like-for-like comparisons can be drawn and year-on-year progress can be reported and understood.
If there are different strategies for accounting for a company's transport gas emissions, then it's a futile gesture.
Also, if carbon reporting takes us by surprise and becomes a key business influencer, or if tax rules changed to hit those firms with less-efficient or larger fleets, then there's the issue that the current rules don't require grey fleet mileage to be included.
So an unintended consequence could lead to leased or bought vehicles being replaced by traditionally less-efficient grey fleet cars, if mileage allowances replaced company cars in an attempt to circumvent the regulations. It may be an extreme conclusion at this stage, but if these accounting rules aren't supposed to have an impact, then why bring them in in the first place?