Liberal Democrats have agreed to limit demands for more corporate
environmental reporting to ‘encouraging’ businesses to include one-page reports
in their annual returns.
The party’s Brighton conference rejected activists’ pleas for a tougher
regulatory approach, with accountant delegate Peter Welch protesting it was ‘a
scandal’ that a voluntary approach was being proposed, adding: ‘This is so wet
the ink comes off on your fingers.’
But business spokesman Lembit Opik called for a ‘light touch’ to retain
credibility with industry.
He said the proposed policy was not punitive but would reward companies that
complied with extra time to file accounts.
A motion passed by delegates complained the Operating and Financial Review
required by company law reform legislation would only apply to the 1,300
publicly quoted companies and would only be enforcible by shareholders if a
failure by directors to consider the issues involved lead to financial loss.
It called for ‘effective, standardised and simple environmental reporting for
business’ extending beyond those quoted on the stock exchange covering carbon
emissions for the current and prior year, with comment, the use of raw materials
and sustainable sourcing and environmental policy, including recycling.
Further powers are being sought by HMRC, but it is ‘failing’ to use those it already has, such as Conduct Notices, says RPC
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