Accounting for carbon in the FTSE100: Numbers, narratives and credibility
MetadataShow full item record
The United Kingdom Government has mandated ambitious carbon objectives, requiring an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, and a 20% interim reduction by 2020. Their achievement will require government and large companies to work together, and for each to be assured of the other’s strategic intent. An emergent carbon accounting can provide reassurance if it produces credible information that supports the claims made by each party. This thesis investigates the extent to which carbon reduction narratives are supported or contradicted by actual carbon emissions disclosed in corporate accounting reports. It also investigates whether large corporations have delivered absolute carbon reductions in support of the government’s legally binding objectives. As a result of these and other investigations, the thesis contributes to the carbon accounting literature by critiquing the method of framing emissions employed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the extent to which carbon reduction is supported by meaningful managerial incentives and the means by which analysts might rebalance financial return with carbon risk in portfolio construction. Following a middle ground approach, the research employs a numbers and narratives analysis in which critical alternative narratives are created at national, sectoral and firm levels. The analysis disaggregates macro carbon emissions data, and considers carbon emissions at a corporate meso and micro level. Narratives constituted out of these numbers, together with counter-narratives generated from corporate disclosures, are then evaluated to assess their credibility. The thesis adopts a practical approach, utilising multiple framing devices. In addition to reporting scopes 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions, it describes a business model framework in which firms are expected to disclose their carbon-material stakeholder relations. Further recommendations are aimed at aligning the interests of corporate managers, investors and financial analysts with government carbon policy in order to modify behaviour and reduce emissions trajectories towards a lower carbon future.
- Theses