More than half of all public sector organisations fail to report climate impacts

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy warns public sector institutions are lagging dangerously behind their private sector counterparts

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A worrying 56% of the world’s public sector organisations are still failing to report their climate impacts, says the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

A new survey of international public sector professionals conducted by the organisation reveals public sector institutions are lagging dangerously behind their private sector counterparts.

More concerning still is the fact that of the 44% of organisations that do produce sustainability reports, only half claim to use a standard definition of sustainability and only a quarter of reports undergo an audit process.

CIPFA highlights that in most countries around the world, reporting climate data is not required for public sector organisations – it notes that respondents suggest a legislative mandate should be introduced, as well as a widely accepted reporting framework.

Public sector organisations also highlight more political support and better data are needed to improve reporting rates.

In order to progress the scale and effectiveness of public sector sustainability reporting, CIPFA outlined a number of areas for improvement, calling for more clarity on the definition and scope of sustainability reports, greater organisational focus and commitment to disclosure, increased development of reporting skills and enhanced scrutiny.

Karen Sanderson, Director of Public Financial Management at CIPFA said: “The planet doesn’t differentiate when it comes to who is responsible for emitting carbon and other greenhouse gases.

“CIPFA conducted this research to see what, if at all, different public sector organisations around the world are doing to report and assess their impact on the climate. We now know that public sector organisations are lagging their private sector counterparts, and that there is a global appetite for this type of reporting among public sector professionals.”