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ICAEW helps shape Charter for Climate Action for professional bodies

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 30 Jun 2021

ICAEW is one of eight professional bodies to develop a Charter to help drive change among institutions and their members.

ICAEW is among eight professional institutions that have shaped a new Charter for Climate Action, a commitment to support members in prioritising the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. 

The inception of the Charter began at a meeting of over 45 professional bodies at London Climate Action Week last year. The working group hopes to see a majority of UK professional organisations committed to the Charter ahead of COP26.

“As trusted advisors to all types of businesses, Chartered Accountants are well placed to drive the sustainability agenda and turn the ambition of a low carbon world into reality,” says ICAEW’s CEO Michael Izza. “The imperative is to act now and we can only stop the unfolding crisis by working collectively with other professions and sectors. We are proud to sign this Charter and look forward to working with fellow signatories to accelerate climate action.”

Joining ICAEW in supporting the Charter are Engineering UK; the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining; the Institution of Environmental Sciences; Professional Associations Research Network; Royal Society of Chemistry; and Society for the Environment.

Richard Spencer, ICAEW’s Director, Technical Thought Leadership, explains that the Charter matters because of the reach and leadership of professional bodies. “All professional bodies have memberships but obviously different types of members (different sectors) and through them, we can reach right across the economy and society,” he explains. “Because one of our key purposes as professional bodies is ensuring that our members are well qualified and current in their professional development, we are an excellent mechanism for ensuring that our members are professionally ready for climate change. 

“But it is also about leadership. If as professional bodies, we are to be more than clubs, we must demonstrate a social purpose. At a time of crisis, such as we face now, what greater leadership and social purpose could we demonstrate than to lead on climate action?”

The Charter is backed by Nigel Topping, High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26. “The UK’s professional bodies have a critical role to play in accelerating climate action,” he says. “Today’s workforce is critical for a successful transition to a net zero economy and professional bodies are in a unique position to support millions of professionals across the UK in achieving this. I encourage more bodies to sign up to the Charter ahead of COP26, as the world’s eyes will be upon us in Glasgow.”

The Charter seeks three commitments from professional bodies:

  1. Chart the path to sustainability for our members, by developing, reporting on, and sharing resources to create Climate Action Plans to reduce our emissions in line with 1.5 °C of warming.
  2. Speak with a unified voice to and with professional bodies, government, and the public by creating an interdisciplinary professional bodies forum. 
  3. Empower and inspire our members to drive sustainable growth, by providing continuous professional development tools, principles, and resources. 

The Charter launches at London Climate Action Week, the largest independent climate festival in Europe. The launch will involve a webinar on which Ethny Childs, Engagement & Communities Officer at IES, Colin Church, CEO at IOM3 and ICAEW’s Richard Spencer. 

The event will invite professional bodies from around the world to commit to the Charter and raise ambition ahead of COP26. The first results of the Charter will be presented in the Blue Zone at COP26 to demonstrate to international governments the importance of professionals in the transition to a sustainable economy.

Are you professionally ready to mitigate the risk and maximise the opportunity of climate change? Find resources, information and inspiration on the ICAEW Climate Hub.