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Commissioner urges companies to prepare environmental reports

More companies should prepare environmental reports according to Margot Wallström, the European Commissioner for the Environment. The Commissioner spoke of the importance of environmental reporting for better environmental management and improved environmental performance as s...
More companies should prepare environmental reports according to Margot Wallström, the European Commissioner for the Environment. The Commissioner spoke of the importance of environmental reporting for better environmental management and improved environmental performance as she presented the 1999 European environmental reporting awards in Brussels recently.

'Environmental reporting focuses attention on measuring and benchmarking environmental performance. This is both a pre-requisite for better environmental management and a necessary condition for companies to be able to communicate meaningfully with other environment stakeholders,' she said.

The Commissioner went on to explain how policies and targets for better performance can only make sense if meaningful benchmarks are developed. But, she warned a number of conditions must be met if the effort put into preparing environmental reports is to pay off. 'Reports must be transparent, credible, relevant and reasonably harmonised across companies,' she said.

The 1999 winners are:

- Neste Fortum Group (Finland) - Winner, 'best environmental report';

- United Utilities plc (UK) - runner up, 'best environmental report';

- Grundfos A/S (Denmark) - 'best first time report';

- DaimlerChrysler AG (Germany) - commendation for communication.

The number of companies voluntarily disclosing environmental information is on the increase. But to fully exploit this information, the European Commission is emphasising the importance of ensuring that the quality and usefulness of disclosed information keeps pace with the rapidly increasing volume of information available.

Commissioner Wallström remains hopeful:

'The fact that we are here today means that substantial progress has been made and that the future of environmental reporting holds promise.'
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