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Chartered Accountants Play A Key Role In The Fight Against Climate Change

Climate change and the impacts of it is on everyone’s mind, even if it isn’t at the forefront. We are all now much more aware of why it is happening, the issues it is causing and what needs to change to prevent further damage and many people and businesses have become very conscious of their individual responsibilities and what they can change to contribute. 

The media covered the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) held at the SEC Centre in Glasgow between 31st October to 13th November 2021, however since the conference has finished the media coverage has stopped in its tracks and moved on. 

Currently, the world emits approximately 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year. 

The pandemic and its effects have taken priority and focus globally over the last 2 years, however, this means precious time and momentum has been lost tackling climate change to dramatic change and action needs to happen.

The IPCC report in August highlighted the severity of the dangers of climate change. It stated if we are unable to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C there will be lasting damage to the planet. The assessments made by the IPCC are expecting the 1.5°C tipping point to happen by 2040. In the report, they also make the link between climate change and human activity for the first time.

Who is the IPCC?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on the current state of climate change. They are an intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for advancing knowledge on human-induced climate change.

They were created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options.

In addition to providing policymakers with regular scientific assessments, its implications and potential future risks, the IPCC also identifies adaptation and mitigation options and they determine the state of knowledge on climate change through its assessments.

Critically scientists have stated that to avoid a climate disaster, the largest carbon emitters must achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

To achieve this, governments and businesses across the world must commit to achieving net-zero by offering financial support to do so, as well as the practices that cause the emissions to be accurately documented so the environmental damage they cause can be fully understood.

Climate change brings some significant and serious consequences to the world’s economies including: 

  • The impact to production globally
  • Financial stability across the world
  • Living standards in all countries, not only for the poor
  • Global employment
  • Political stability around the world 

After the United Nations Climate Change Conference many more people are aware of the issues and are now asking, are we doing enough to stop the devastating impact of climate change from happening? Urgent action is needed quickly with longevity to limit its severity and damaging effects.

What is the role of the accountancy profession when it comes to climate change?

Accountants and finance professionals have the ability and power to make people accountable to drive changes to support climate change in individual businesses, their wider industries and the overall economy both financially and through their leadership.

A call to action against climate change statement has been signed by 13 chief executives of global accountancy bodies representing the accountancy profession. Globally, these organisations represent over 2.5 million accountants and students across 179 countries. They have called on the accountancy profession to act now to support the businesses and organisations they work with and for, to respond and take action with the urgency and action required.

Who has signed the statement?

Andrew Hunter, CEO, CPA Australia

Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive, Chartered Accountants Ireland

Barry Melancon, CEO, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Christine Lundberg Larsen, CEO, Regnskap Norge/Accounting Norway

Francesca Maione, CEO, CNDCEC – Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori commercialistie degli Esperti Contabili

Helen Brand OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA

J Bruce Cartwright, Chief Executive, ICAS

Joy Thomas, President and CEO, CPA Canada

Klaus-Peter Naumann, CEO, Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW)

Margaret Chan, Chief Executive & Registrar, Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Mark Farrar, CEO, Association of Accounting Technicians

Masahiko Tezuka, Chairman and President, The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Michael Izza, Chief Executive, ICAEW

Rick Ellis, CEO, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Supported by:

Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO, Accountancy Europe

Kevin Dancey, CEO, International Federation of Accountants

The statement jointly asks accountants to take eight actions, and the accounting bodies themselves have committed to supporting their members to do this. 

Chartered Accountants Play A Key Role In The Fight Against Climate Change

Why is the accountancy profession so crucial to stop climate change?

In the last 100 years and more recently in the last 20 years, the accounting profession has gained valuable experience in the fight against climate change and this experience must now be used to take dramatic action which will contribute to the changes needed for a positive impact on our carbon emissions.

Accounting professionals can use their skills and experience in businesses to support and ensure climate metrics agreed upon across the world are met.

Climate reporting and disclosures can be verified by accountants globally and a combined result can be reported.

Accountants have the influence to bring climate change discussions and progress reporting in board meetings, leadership and management.

As organisations and governments develop and implement plans for climate change mitigation accountants and finance professionals can provide solid advice and services.

The International Integrated Reporting Council and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures are current reporting frameworks that can be used by accountants globally.

By integrating climate change risk into organisational strategy, finance, operations, and communications, the finance profession can help organisations achieve both their operational and climate change goals.

By allocating budgets and resources, finance heads and teams can support sustainable climate change decisions within the organisations they work for.

Using robust and transparent accounting systems, finance teams can develop high quality and timely climate change information and insights.

In the Statement, the Chief Executives of the Global Professional Accountancy Bodies have committed to:

  • To provide training, support, and infrastructure to enable members to apply their skills to the climate change action challenge.
  • Encourage market-based policy initiatives and incentives, consistent and thoughtful regulation, and more useful disclosures.
  • Assist governments in creating the policy and regulatory infrastructure for a realistic and sustainable transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

In Summary

Accounting professionals are ideally positioned to affect meaningful and positive change in a collective effort since they are influential members of every sector of the economy. This means they have a crucial and essential role in supporting governments, businesses and civil society to combat the global warming crisis.

Hayvenhursts Accountancy Services

Hayvenhursts have a team of highly qualified accountants who have experience in many different businesses and industries. We commit to working with you and your business to set realistic and measurable objectives around climate change impacts you can make within your financial budget.

We will provide you with sound advice from Accountants with years of experience in supporting businesses to make change.

We will help you to ensure you meet your responsibilities against the climate metrics agreed in the UK and across the world.

We will support you to bring climate change discussions and progress reporting throughout your business.

Our experience will help you develop and implement plans for climate change and enable your business to adapt.

We can help you develop a reporting framework that fits within your business metrics and financial budget.

We will support you to make sustainable climate change decisions and make achievable actions to contribute towards the UK and global targets. 

Contact us today on 02920 777 756 and we can arrange for one of our expert accountants to contact you and let you know how we can help you.

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