This is a new series which examines some of the most pressing economic, social and environmental issues in our personal and professional lives, through providing clarity and understanding about the relevance – and power – of the number.
Each episode utilises a specific number as the gateway into the key debates around the issue it represents. The numbers chosen have wide-reaching consequences in the UK and around the world.
The series features leading experts from a range of fields, who provide insight and opinion on their areas of expertise. Guests have been chosen to represent all sides of the debate, to ensure a fair and balanced perspective. It is hosted by Louise Cooper, who you may know as a regular presenter on BBC’s Money Box programme.
1.5°C - The hot topic
I was delighted to take part in our first episode, '1.5°C - The hot topic', which is available now in two parts, and looks at the financial impact of climate change on business and how well companies are prepared for it. Joining me for this episode are John Kronerup Bang, Head of Sustainability at AP Moller Maersk; Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party; and Mardi McBrien, Managing Director of the Climate Standard Disclosures Board. Our discussion includes the push for mandatory climate-related financial risk disclosures, and how this could lead to a more efficient allocation of capital and transform our economy.
The next episode, '£350m - truth, lies and numbers', also available now, looks at how numbers can seduce, how they can be manipulated and the potential implications for policymaking. Future episodes include '11.9%' – which examines the gender pay gap and inequality in the workplace, and '$12tr' – focusing on the business benefits of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Why are we doing this?
As ICAEW Chartered Accountants, we know the power of numbers, and are well aware that they should not just be taken at face value. We interrogate how they are calculated, examine the broader context within which they exist and assess what conclusions can be drawn from them to help inform decision-making in business and public policy.
By applying our critical thinking to the big debates of the day in this way, we help to build stronger, more sustainable economies and increase prosperity.
I hope these podcasts will prove engaging and thought-provoking, and assist you and your business or employer to engage with and address the issues at hand.