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Accountants to Ensure Transparency Around Climate-related Risks to the Economy

Call to action in response to climate change #ourclimatecounts

Published on March 03, 2020

Accounting bodies representing 2.5 million accountants and accounting students across 179 countries have demanded that sustainability and the fight against climate change be at the forefront of their work.

Accountants have a crucial role to play in ensuring transparency around climate-related risks and opportunities. And better disclosure can support a smooth and just transition to a net-zero emissions economy.

The call to action cites climate change as an economic, social and business risk that accountants across the globe must act on and includes eight actions which accountants should take in response to the climate emergency.

Commenting on the pledge, the Chief Executive of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Michael Izza, said:

“As we face the climate emergency head-on, it’s crucial we chartered accountants use our unique position as advisers to business and policymakers to make the case for sustainability.”

2020 is a significant year for climate action, with countries submitting their national climate action plans. Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by 50% over the next decade to retain the possibility of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in accordance with the Paris Agreement. To this end, major progress needs to be made at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

“We need to make this a decade of transition for the business. Failure to make this move will make the inevitable adjustments required much more difficult,” said Mr. Izza,

The signatories to the statement highlighted the potential of the accountancy profession to drive sustainable behaviors. They highlighted the important role the profession can play in ensuring transparency around climate-related risks and opportunities, and how better disclosure can support a smooth and just transition to a net-zero emissions economy.

13 chief executives representing 14 accounting bodies signed the call, all members of the Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network:

  • Rick Ellis, CEO, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
  • Barry Melancon, CEO, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • Mark Farrar, CEO, Association of Accounting Technicians
  • Klaus-Peter Naumann, CEO, Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW)
  • J Bruce Cartwright, Chief Executive, ICAS
  • Christine Lundberg Larsen, CEO, Regnskap Norge/Accounting Norway
  • Helen Brand OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA
  • Francesca Maione, CEO, CNDCEC – Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori commercialistie degli Esperti Contabili
  • Masahiko Tezuka, Chairman and President, The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Joy Thomas, President and CEO, CPA Canada
  • Andrew Hunter, CEO, CPA Australia
  • Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive, Chartered Accountants Ireland
  • Michael Izza, Chief Executive, ICAEW

Supported by:

  • Kevin Dancey, CEO, International Federation of Accountants

The signatories underlined the need for policy certainty to galvanize action across the private sector, voicing their support for a more integrated approach to policy development that was consistent with net-zero emissions and climate change adaptation goals.

You can follow developments and join in the conversation online using the hashtag #ourclimatecounts.

Finance Reporter