Friday, February 02, 2007

Climate change: driving disclosure?

What a week it has been for climate change advocates. This morning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report on "The Physical Science Basis" which found that humans are, indeed, to blame for changes in the climate tracked thus far and for future damage predicted on the short and long term horizons.

Add this to yesterday's nomination of Al Gore for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the subject (interestingly, a co-nominator was a representative of Inuit groups in the north worried about their cultural viability), and Wal-Mart's agressive stance at a press conference in London where it promised to flex its muscle and reduce climate impacts via its operations (eco-efficiency solutions) and products (sales of energy saving bulbs).

Working back one day further, we get to Wednesday, when the US groups Ceres and Calvert released the findings of their recent study on the state of climate oriented disclosure among the Fortune 500 companies. Although they did find that nearly half are beginning to get active via the GRI Guidelines or the Carbon Disclosure Project, a full 30% still cite "confidentiality" issues as the reason they dont disclose their climate oriented data.

What will it take to transform issue awareness and acceptance into action, and specifically accurate management, measurement and disclosure of risks and opportunities? How much longer will policy makers, investors, citizens, employees, and others allow companies and organizations of all shapes and sizes to get away with citing confidentiality issues as a way out of rigorous disclosure?

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