FDs back environmental reports

UK finance directors have narrowly voted in favour of compulsory environmental reporting bolstering attempts in the European Parliament to introduce the measure.

In this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question, 48% of FDs polled said they would agree to a measure making it mandatory to produce environmental reports in addition to annual report and accounts.

In October 2000, Tony Blair called upon the top 350 companies to voluntarily publish annual environmental reports by the end of 2001. Only 54 did so.Responding to the survey, one FD said: ‘The more we encourage business to become environmentally friendly, the better.’

Another was concerned by the possible extra cost but said it was an ‘area we need to know about – i.e. who contributes to [the] greenhouse effect more than others’.

Sauter Automation FD John Buckley remained neutral as he felt it could enable a company to ‘whitewash’ its commitment to the environment.

He would like to see companies involved in ‘sensitive’ areas such as cigarettes and alcohol being required to state how they intend to reverse the negative impact of their products. ‘Social issues are part of the environmental debate’ he said.

Some 39% of respondents were unconvinced, Spring Fine Foods FD David Duncan could not see the practicality of such a testimony. He said: ‘The government is constantly introducing new regulations – it really isn’t the time to worry about another! Morally though the answer would be yes.’

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