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Global commitment for net zero


The  Accountancy bodies have together committed to reach net zero emissions ‘as soon as possible’ and are set to publish plans to do so within the next 12 months, writes Heather smith in Accountancy Today

Thirteen professional accountancy bodies from across the globe, including AATACCAICAEW, ICAS, and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, have partnered up with a shared commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The accountancy bodies are part of The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network. The network currently represents more than 2.5 million professional accountants and students, who work with businesses and governments in 179 countries.

The bodies have together committed to reach net zero emissions “as soon as possible” and are set to publish plans to do so within the next 12 months, and then report annually to show their progress.

They said they have also committed to providing their members with training, support, and resources to help them “create their own net zero plans” and reduce their emissions.

In addition, the bodies have pledged to provide advice to help governments create the policies and infrastructure necessary for transitions to net zero economies.

They noted that the accountancy profession is “already at the forefront of helping societies adapt by using accounting practices to help governments adjust economic policy in ways that minimise climate change”.

Heather Hill, AAT President, said: “Following the 2020 call to action by the professional accounting bodies, AAT is pleased to support this statement of commitment to net zero. Climate change is an existential crisis and every one of us, as individuals and organisations, has a part to play in driving the effort to achieve net zero.

“At AAT we will continue our organisational activity to improve our carbon footprint, but to also help equip our members to engage in this crucial collective effort, and to bring our influence to bear on the government where appropriate.”

Helen Brand OBE, ACCA CEO, said: “Making these commitments is important to create positive business change – and professional accountants are core to this. They are in a unique position to drive good business decisions with positive impacts on sustainability, including on climate action, in the organisations they lead and work for. ACCA is proud to support these commitments and play our part.”

Michael Izza, ICAEW CEO, added: “The fight against climate change requires urgent global action, so we were pleased to join our fellow bodies from around the world to confirm our commitment to a zero-carbon society.

“We were the first major professional body to become carbon neutral and have brought in measures to help us reach net zero, such as setting up carbon-reducing projects. We will continue to look for ways to minimise our carbon footprint, guide our members on their own net zero journeys and support global action.”

J Bruce Cartwright CA, ICAS Chief Executive, concluded: “ICAS is proud to be a signatory to the Accounting Bodies Network commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions and to commit to provide training, support and resources to help our members establish their own net zero pathways based on our experience.

“The accountancy profession can be a key enabler in the transition to a net zero economy. I believe that if we pool our collective efforts and resources we can achieve our climate change ambitions and make the creation of a healthy and sustainable planet a reality for future generations.”