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Few Companies Preparing For Looming Carbon Restrictions

Only about 18% of U.S. companies with between 1,000 and 10,000 employees expect to implement carbon management tools during the next 18 months, a new report shows.

Despite the inevitability of strict government regulations meant to reduce the amount of carbon emissions, most companies are ill-prepared to track and manage the greenhouse gasses linked to potentially catastrophic global climate change, an analyst firm said Tuesday.

While the number of large corporations worldwide planning to use carbon-tracking systems exceeds those required to do so, the percentage remains low, Gartner said.

"Regardless of actual or anticipated regulations, midsize and large enterprises should at least be building carbon information systems, because, whether in a developed or developing economy, pressure will come down the supply chain to be transparent about carbon emissions," Gartner analyst Simon Mingay said in a statement.

Carbon-reducing government regulations already exist in some countries, and the Obama administration is talking about a carbon cap and other regulations along the lines of those in effect in the European Union and Australia. Yet despite the evolving regulatory environment, only about 18% of U.S. companies with between 1,000 and 10,000 employees expect to implement carbon management tools during the next 18 months.

Gartner found too few companies globally had adequate carbon reporting, tracking, and management systems in place. Most of the companies with some kind of system were using in-house developments, mostly spreadsheets. Fully 32% of surveyed companies in Western Europe had something in place, which was twice as many as the Asia/Pacific region or the United States.

"Enterprises all over the world need to get more serious about greenhouse gas reporting," Mingay said. "Despite the lack of specific regulations, midsize and large enterprises in developed economies need to recognize that they will be paying for their emissions at some point -- it’s just a matter of when, how much, and through what kind of mechanism."

Gartner surveyed 626 large and midsize companies for its report, titled "Too Many Enterprises Are In Denial About Carbon Management" and available on its Web site.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of green IT strategies. Download the report here (registration required).

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