Accountants Seek Action against Climate Change

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By Ndubuisi Francis

Leaders of the accounting profession across the world recently took a united stand by calling for accountants to put their skills to work to help businesses fight climate change.

The leaders were drawn from 14 accounting bodies representing members worldwide who published a call to action urging accounting professionals to put sustainability and the fight against climate change at the forefront of their work.

In the call to action, the global accounting body leaders asked accountants across the world to integrate climate change risk into organisational strategy, finance, operations, and communications, support sustainable decision-making, and provide sound advice and services.

The issue was considered relevant to accountants because of their role in risk management and the fact that climate change has emerged as a significant risk, and therefore, they also have a responsibility to act in the public interest.

The global bodies which signed the call to action were the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the unified voice of AICPA and CIMA), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI), and Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori commercialistie degli Esperti Contabili (CNDCEC).

Others are CPA Australia, CPA Canada, Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), International Federation of Accountants, Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA), and Regnskap Norge/Accounting Norway.

“The accounting profession has long focused on assessing and managing financial risks. However, the global risks we are seeing today, in particular environment-related risks, are pushing our profession to expand its remit,”CGMA, president and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, Barry Melancon said.

He added: “As core members of almost every business, government, and nongovernmental organisation, accountants are ideally positioned to help organisations assess and manage these new risks.

“Accountants have an important role to play improving an organisation’s integrated thinking and decision-making capabilities to promote responsible business practices, improving outcomes for both stakeholders and our environment.”

The call to action comes amid increasing calls from the business world to address climate change. Last month, for example, BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink wrote in an open letter to CEOs that it plans to place sustainability at the centre of its investment approach. BlackRock is one of the most powerful institutional investors in the world.

The accounting bodies said in their call that members can help bring about meaningful change because of their expertise with advising businesses about risk management and their responsibility to act in the public interest.

“This is a call to action not just for accountants, but also for the professional bodies of which they are members. We all have an immense role to play here,” said ACCA Chief Executive, Helen Brand in a news release.