Global accounting leaders call on profession to help address climate change

14 major accounting bodies signed a statement calling on the accounting profession to put sustainability and the fight against climate change at the forefront of its work
LONDON (Feb. 25, 2020)  According to the CEOs of leading accounting professional bodies, the world’s accountants must put their skills to use to help businesses fight climate change.

As part of The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network, which collectively represents over 2.5 million accountants and students worldwide, 14 major accounting bodies1 are today publishing a declaration calling on the profession to put sustainability and the fight against climate change at the forefront of its work.

The accounting bodies said their members had a critical role to play to help effect meaningful change because of their expertise with advising businesses about risk management and their responsibility to act in the public interest.

Tackling climate change needs practical measurement and management, and accountants are key to helping businesses build sustainability into their working practices, commercial relationships and supply chains, the accountancy leaders explained.

An accountant’s role should demonstrate the risks to business posed by climate change, such as the impact of flooding or the effect of drought on the price of crops needed in the supply chain.

Barry Melancon, CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, said: ‘“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. As core members of almost every business, government, and non-governmental 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 asks accountants across the world to:

  • integrate climate change risk into organisational strategy, finance, operations, and communications.
  • support sustainable decision-making
  • provide sound advice and services

As part of the Call to Action, the global accounting bodies have pledged to provide support to help their members fulfil this role.

  • Accountants have a crucial role to play in the fight against climate change because:
  • the transition to a net zero carbon economy will rely on adapting economic policy and associated market mechanisms. Accounting practices are central to achieving both.
  • accountants must act on economic, social and business risks, and climate change is one of the biggest we face.
  • professional accountants have a responsibility to act in the public interest, which must now include helping organisations to address climate change.

The full list of global bodies which have signed up to the call to action is:

  • 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)
  • Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori commercialistie degli Esperti Contabili (CNDCEC)
  • 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)
  • Regnskap Norge/Accounting Norway

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