The role of company reporting in resource efficiency

1 October 2012

A new briefing published today aims to highlight the substantial gains companies can make by improving their use of resources.

The recommendations come as the European Commission prepares to publish new draft legislation on Non Financial Reporting by companies (expected by the end of 2012). Friends of the Earth Europe considers that this is a important opportunity to get companies to report their use of key resources, like materials, water, land and carbon, thus helping to move to a resource efficient EU.

At the moment only a limited number of companies are focusing on this area.

The world's natural resources are under ever increasing pressure – habitats are being irreversibly damaged, forests are being cleared, oceans are over-fished. Globally we extract around 50% more natural resources than we did just 30 years ago. Yet in Europe we throw away over five billion Euros worth of valuable resources every year.

Europe is the most import dependent region on the planet and our companies are starting to really feel the pinch through rapidly rising resource prices – directly linked to overconsumption.

The best companies already realise the savings that are there to be made through making their operations more resource efficient and are starting to measure their resource consumption and take steps towards reducing it. But many aren't – that's why we need new EU company reporting rules which should require all large companies to report on the resources they consume across their operations, including their supply chains.

New EU-wide company reporting rules should require companies to report on their consumption across four indicators: land footprint, water footprint, material use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Getting companies to measure and report is the first stage on the way towards reducing our unsustainable demands on the planet on which we all depend.