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.
Some 13 chief executives representing 14 accounting bodies signed the call, all members of the Accounting for Sustainability project (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network.
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 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 behaviours. 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.
The signatories underlined the need for policy certainty to galvanise 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.