Sarah discusses the Community's successes and future plans.
This year has been a fantastic year for the Sustainability & Climate Change Community, with over 9,000 members so far. Most notably, we are weeks away from the first ICAEW Climate Summit, to be held virtually across five days beginning 18 October. The Summit will cover five major themes: climate disclosure, governance, SME action, climate finance and personal leadership. Expect live events each day, supported by halo content produced during the year from ICAEW and the partner organisations involved in the Summit such as IFAC, CDSB, BEIS and KPMG. In addition, you can find all of those resources and new content including interviews and articles highlighting the important work our members are doing in climate here. We have some fantastic sponsors for the Climate Summit including Mazars, Ruffer, SaveMoneyCutCarbon and Smart Energy GB. We also have the annual PD Leake lecture on the third day of the Summit, titled Accounting in the Anthropocene, which will consider the role of accountants in a time when human activity has significantly impacted the planet’s ecosystems.
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 making commitments 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 encouraged 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 inspiring leadership in driving action on the climate crisis. We hope by celebrating our members, this inspires others to start on their own net-zero journey.
As the demand for action on climate change, sustainability and broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues rises, it is expected that professionals will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience to tackle them. To support our members in this rapidly evolving field, ICAEW has already made several additions to the ACA syllabus (including materials on the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, the Natural Capital Protocol, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the requirements of the Green Finance Education Charter). The ICAEW is now working to develop a course to support those members who are already qualified.
We are inviting members of the Sustainability & Climate Change Community to participate in this process through a virtual workshop in October. We will use this forum to engage our members on what outcomes they would like from such a course. We are keen to engage with those working within the sustainability field, but also those in audit and accounting roles, both in business and practice, to better understand the needs of ICAEW members. We hope that with your help it can be an easily available and digestible way for accountants to upskill in this area. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate in this workshop.
There has never been a more important time than now to be integrating sustainability and climate thinking into business models and we want to celebrate and encourage all of our members who are driving this crucial action. We look forward to seeing what brilliant work you do in the coming months and hope to share your stories across the Institute soon.