Top UK employers failing to reduce greenhouse emissions

CORRECTION: The following article incorrectly represented some of the findings of the Brand Emissions survey. Sky is in fact rated in the top third of those companies reviewed in the Brand Emissions report. Its absolute emissions went up slightly over the past year, as published on Sky’s website. However over the past five years Sky reduced its absolute emissions by 12% (from 03/04 to 08/09). The report recognises Sky as a Brand Emissions runner up, meeting two out of the three key criteria. Visit Brand Emissions for more detail.

Two-thirds of leading UK employers have either increased their greenhouse gas emissions, have weak targets on cuts, or do not publish data.

A report, due to be published tomorrow, will reveal that some of the UK’s top employers, including Barclays, Amazon and Sky, have lagged behind their competitors and were failing to respond to the government’s emissions agenda.

The survey of the UK’s 600 biggest brands found two-thirds were either increasing their greenhouse gas emissions, had targets that were weaker than the government’s Copenhagen goal for carbon cuts, or were failing to put information about their carbon emissions in the public domain.

The government has set a national target of cutting the 1990 emissions level by 34% by 2020.

The Brand Emissions survey found only one in five brands was reducing emissions and had ambitious targets in line with the UK’s aims.

The companies that were found to be making the most progress towards reducing their emissions included Tesco, T-Mobile, Dell and BMW, the Guardian reported.

In total, 250 employers, including Google, McKinsey and Amazon, were found not to publish any data on their emissions.

A further 320 employers, including Porsche, Harvey Nichols and McDonald’s, had no public emissions reduction targets, while 122 brands that did report their carbon output had increased their emissions in 2008. This last group included Barclays, Sky and eBay.

The research was conducted by Marketing magazine and Brand Republic, with ENDS Carbon, a specialist carbon ratings agency, and the University of Edinburgh business school. The aim is to give leading UK brands an annual emissions rating.

Rachael Stilwell, publishing director of Marketing magazine, said: “These results will become an important reputational milestone for brands.”

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