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Businesses listed on the London Stock Exchange will be required to report the levels of greenhouse gases they emit, starting from the beginning of the next financial year, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced in the Guardian.
The new rules, expected to be extended later to include all large companies from 2015, aim to encourage corporations to focus on managing their impact on the environment more efficiently and monitor their energy consumption. Clegg also pointed out that although 90% of chief executives claim that sustainability is vital for the growth of their businesses, only one in five actually keeps a record of the resources they use.
The plan, which will see approximately 1,800 companies report their emissions in corporate earnings reports starting in April 2013, were formally announced at the start of the Rio+20 sustainability conference in Brazil on 20 June.
Campaigners and investors had been hoping for an agreement that would require sustainability reporting for all businesses around the globe, but while Rio+20 has encouraged publishing such data, it does not actually go all the way to making it obligatory.
The Rio+20 Earth Summit gathered more than 100 heads of state for a discussion on ways to maximise the chance of sustainable environmental management and to save one billion people from poverty. Apart from Nick Clegg, the UK is represented by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.