The majority of Britain’s biggest publicly-listed businesses are now disclosing some information about their environmental performance on an annual basis, according to new Environment Agency-led research published this week.

However, the study of over 500 FTSE All-share companies also found that only a minority of companies are providing environmental statistics in line with Government guidance and that the quality of information is still very varied and in some cases basic.

Environmental Disclosures, the Environment Agency’s third major review of environmental reporting by leading businesses, found that 99% of companies made a reference to an environmental issue in their 2009-2010 annual reports and accounts. A total of 67% of companies surveyed reported on at least one of three environmental key performance indicators – carbon emissions, water use and waste disposal.

The Environment Agency is urging all UK businesses to report on their emissions and discharges to air, land and water, their energy and water use and their environmental fines. It says this would ensure that users of reports can assess the performance of a single company over time and relative to its competitors.

Environment Agency Chief Executive, Paul Leinster, said:
“More businesses are being open about their environmental risks, but it is a concern that there is still a wide variation in the quality of reporting and that less than one in three businesses surveyed provided data in line with DEFRA guidance.

“The increasing financial significance of many environmental risks and opportunities means that now more than ever investors need clear, comparable environmental information to help them decide where to invest their money. Businesses that measure their environmental impacts and risks are also better placed to manage and reduce them.”