Despite Government lobbying by many leading business groups, including the CBI, over a third (38%) of financial directors oppose the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting - according to a survey by Lex Autolease.
Giving further cause for concern, the poll of almost 500 FDs also revealed that nearly two-thirds (63%) were not even aware of the Climate Change Act 2008, which obliges the Government to introduce mandatory carbon reporting for all UK businesses.
The same number of financial stakeholders (63%) also believes that mandatory carbon reporting would 'make no difference' to their organisation, while a quarter (25%) think it will 'inhibit business growth'.
Mark Chessman, Commercial Director with responsibility for sustainability at Lex Autolease, says:
'It's clear that the business community is, at best, undecided on the benefits of mandatory reporting. At worst, there is likely to be significant opposition from FDs to any future legislation as they remain unconvinced of the benefits of carbon reporting with, at present, many believing it may even make organisations less competitive.
'This is a pessimistic view and one that isn't shared by many other stakeholders who advocate carbon reporting on the basis that it would bring numerous business benefits, such as increased productivity, cost reduction and enhanced CSR over the longer term.
'But it can only be truly effective if those responsible for signing-off reports - financial directors - are aware of and fully convinced of the benefits it can create for their organisations.'
The Department of Energy and Climate Change is now consulting on its existing carbon energy reporting scheme (Carbon Reduction Commitment), but this fails to include significant areas of emissions such as those generated by transport.
In July last year, the CBI presented a response to the government's consultation on greenhouse gases (GHG). In the paper, the organisation highlighted that only 22% of the FTSE all-share index voluntarily reports on GHGs. As such, the CBI believes that mandatory reporting is necessary.
Mark Chessman adds: 'The Government must act now to educate key decision makers, demonstrating the clear business benefits and implications of emissions reporting. A long overdue announcement on the matter was delayed just a few weeks ago but, in dragging its feet, legislators are only adding to the uncertainty.'
Figures are based on a sample of 452 Financial Directors: carried out in February 2012.