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The Road to COP26

With the Conference of the Parties approaching in November, ICAEW have been developing a vast amount of content and events to prepare the profession on the subject of climate and ESG developments.

October 2021

With the Conference of the Parties approaching in November, ICAEW have been developing a vast amount of content and events to prepare the profession on the subject of climate and ESG developments. The world is changing – and so is the role of chartered accountants. Our major new content series titled When Chartered Accountants Save the World, explores how chartered accountants are helping to tackle some of the most urgent social challenges within the UN Sustainable Development Goals and considers how the profession could do even more in the future. Having tackled trust and diversity, the next theme will focus on climate.

In the weeks before COP26, the Institute will be holding the first ICAEW Climate Summit to be held virtually across five days beginning 18 October. The Summit will cover five major themes including: climate disclosure, corporate governance, SME action, climate finance and personal leadership. There will be nine live events each day, supported by halo content produced during the year from ICAEW and the partner organisations involved in the Summit such as EY, CDSB, BEIS and KPMG. In addition, we are creating new content including interviews and articles that highlights the important work our members are doing in climate. Sponsors for the Climate Summit include MHA MacIntyre Hudson and Save Money Cut Carbon. We expect to bring a varied audience from across the profession throughout the week to engage in thought leadership as well as gain practical guidance from climate disclosures to implementing net-zero strategies.

This year’s Finance for the Future Awards will be held at the start of November to coincide with COP26. We have had a record number of entries this year from 20 different countries, with nearly 50% of entries from outside the UK. This is also the first time we have received entries from Kenya, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Russia. Following the assessment round, we have 36 finalists. The awards will be held across two locations this year, with an in-person main event in London and a satellite in-person event in Glasgow, connected through a live link. The main body of the awards will also be livestreamed so viewers can watch from anywhere. In addition to the five main categories there will be a cohort of ‘climate leaders’ picked from the finalists across all categories.

Earlier this year, the three UK and Ireland professional accountancy bodies (ICAEW, ICAS and Chartered Accountants Ireland) saw an opportunity to encourage and celebrate our members committed to decarbonising their organisations. We wanted to be ambitious, and so the 1,000 Chartered Accountants initiative was born.

As part of COP26, the UN have been encouraging organisations to sign up to the Race to Zero, a commitment to become net-zero through setting scientific targets by 2050 or sooner. 1,000 Chartered Accountants celebrates our members who have led their organisation or clients into the UN Race to Zero or led on work to decarbonise the economy, whether that be in a government or internationally backed initiative such as Together for our Planet, or through advocacy and leadership work.

Alongside this, many of our members are influential voices in the mission to decarbonise – as part of the initiative, we want to recognise their leadership and inspiring action to drive action on the climate crisis. We hope by celebrating our members, this inspires others to start on their own net-zero journey. With increasing pressure on business and government to act on climate, there has never been a more important time than now to be educating and inspiring our members and students to be climate leaders in their organisations and with clients they advise.

By Sarah Reay, Climate Change Intern ICAEW

London Accountant

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