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Calling all accountants: it’s time to act on climate change

25 February 2020: ICAEW and other accountancy bodies have signed a pledge calling on accountants across the world to use their skills and status in the fight against climate change.

ICAEW and other global accountancy bodies are calling on the profession to put sustainability and the fight against climate change at the forefront of its work.

Signed as part of The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network, which collectively represents over 2.5 million accountants worldwide, the collective call to action asks accountants across the world to commit to the fight against climate change by:

  • Integrating climate change risk into organisational strategy, finance, operations, and communications
  • Supporting sustainable decision-making 
  • Providing sound advice and services.

Commenting on the pledge, ICAEW Chief Executive 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.

“Chartered accountants bring practical skills like measurement and management to the table and can work with business to build green policies into their working practices. 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.”

As influential members of every sector of the economy, accountants have a vital role to play to help effect positive change in a collective effort. They have both a responsibility to act in the public interest and the skills and expertise to help organisations deliver meaningful change with the urgency and scale required. ICAEW pledges to provide support to help its members fulfil this role.

Climate change has the potential to impact the economy on a profound scale, affecting production, financial stability, living standards and employment, as well as weakening social cohesion and political stability.

This year is a significant moment for action. Over the next decade, global emissions must halve  to retain the possibility of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, so it is vital to act now and make the 2020s a decade of delivery.

On a national level, the UK has passed into law a target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This objective will create significant challenges and require a response from all areas of business and society to work towards a more sustainable future.

In addition, with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties being hosted in the UK later this year, climate change is a clear priority.