Accounting Bodies Net Zero Commitment

The impacts of climate change are already being felt throughout the world and the next decade is critical to limit its negative effects. To limit the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5°C, emissions need to halve by 2030, and drop to net zero by the middle of the century for the best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

That is why 13 accounting bodies, members of our Accounting Bodies Network (ABN), are publicly committing to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within their own organizations, as well as provide an enabling environment for their membership to do the same.

Representing 2.5 million accountants globally, the accounting bodies have committed to provide the training and infrastructure to support their membership to achieve net zero ambitions.

The accountancy profession can play a significant and vital role in achieving rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as well as supporting action to adapt to the physical impacts arising from global warming.

Jessica Fries, Executive Chair, A4S said, “The accounting community plays a vital role in helping to tackle climate change, but many accountants are unsure where to start. By committing to net zero GHG emissions, the leading professional bodies signing the ABN Net Zero Statement of Support are signalling the importance of action and committing to help their millions of members to respond. By mobilizing this army of accountants, all segments of the economy – from large to small – can be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to create a sustainable future for us all.”

ABN NET ZERO COMMITMENT

From the chief executives of global accountancy bodies

We are the chief executives of the global professional accountancy bodies listed below and members of The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network (ABN). We represent over 2.5 million professional accountants and students across 179 countries.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt throughout the world and the next decade is critical to limit its negative effects. With climate change comes potentially profound negative economic consequences including impacts on production, financial stability, living standards and employment, and more widely on social cohesion and political stability, along with the further degrading of the natural environment upon which we depend.

We recognise the scale of the effort needed both to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change: last year, the ABN released a call to action in response to the crucial role we can play in addressing climate change, and ABN members have already begun to take steps to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with these commitments*. The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of severe consequences of a failure to prevent global warming exceeding 1.5°C and of the physical impacts that we are already certain to see. To limit the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5°C, emissions need to halve by 2030, and drop to net zero by the middle of the century for the best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

Accountants and finance professionals, using their specific skills and expertise, can play a key role in helping our political leaders and the business community achieve commitments to reduce GHG emissions to net zero in line with the Paris Agreement.

For our professional organisations, we commit to:

1. Reach net zero GHG emissions as soon as operationally possible, informed by science and in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

2. Within the next 12 months, publish a net zero emissions pathway (including targets) and report annually to show our GHG emissions reductions and trajectory towards net zero emissions.

For our members, we commit to:

3. Encourage and provide our members with the training, support and resources they need to establish their own net zero pathways and reduce GHG emissions.

4. Provide sound advice to help governments create the policy and regulatory infrastructure necessary for a just transition to a net zero carbon economy.

While addressing climate change through our own operations is critical, we also wish to ensure others benefit from our transition. Therefore, we aim to share our experiences, and that of others, as examples to support our members, their clients and the wider business community, as they implement their own net zero GHG emissions pathways.

In signing this statement, we are signalling our commitment, as members of the global accounting profession, to a net zero GHG emissions future.
 

The SIGNATORIES

  • Rune Aale-Hansen, CEO, Regnskap Norge
  • Helen Brand OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
  • J Bruce Cartwright, Chief Executive, ICAS
  • Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive, Chartered Accountants Ireland
  • Heather Hill, President, Association of Accounting Technicians
  • Andrew Hunter, CEO, CPA Australia
  • Michael Izza, Chief Executive, ICAEW
  • Barry Melancon, CEO, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • Massimo Miani, President, Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti e degli Esperti Contabili
  • Klaus-Peter Naumann, CEO, Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW)
  • Ainslie van Onselen, CEO, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
  • Charles-Antoine St-Jean, President and CEO, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada
  • Masahiko Tezuka, Chairman and President, The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA)

* Further information on ABN members reducing their carbon emissions

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)

In December 2020, ACCA announced commitments to delivering the UN SDGs including becoming Net Zero by 2030. In 2022, we will:

  • Launch continuous learning products on sustainability
  • Run carbon reduction training for ACCA employees
  • Complete mapping our carbon footprint

We will report on progress in our annual integrated reports.

Visit the ACCA website for more information.

Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

In 2020, AAT commissioned an independent carbon usage report, with recommendations which enabled us to achieve carbon neutrality. This was the first step in our commitment to constantly review and improve our environmental impacts, alongside many other activities undertaken as part of AAT’s wider Responsible Business strategy. See our Annual Report for more information.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ)

We are equipping members with the skills and data they need to make impactful, informed decisions including scenario analysis, disclosure, and assurance of climate-related information and how to identify and assess the financial impact of material risks. Our strategy to 2025 includes initiatives that focus on sustainable practices and reporting and the development of a sustainability framework.

www.charteredaccountantsanz.com/climate

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Chartered Accountants Ireland is committed to substantially reducing carbon emissions, both in our own activities and in the wider business community through our education and advocacy work. We have begun the process of decarbonising our Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and have put in place a roadmap for the future.

Visit the website for more information.

CPA Australia

CPA Australia is currently developing a road map to transition to Net Zero including documenting the minimum requirements, options, and implications for setting an emissions reduction target based on best-practice standards, specific to CPA Australia. Alongside this we are also assessing the broader implications of Net Zero for our members.  

ICAEW

In 2020, ICAEW became the first major professional body in the UK to declare carbon neutrality by purchasing offsets that deliver against the UN SDGs. ICAEW is also supporting its members to drive the change needed to protect the environment for future generations. For more information, visit ICAEW’s carbon neutral hub.

ICAS

ICAS is a signatory to the Green Finance Education Charter and has started to introduce sustainability related content into our teaching syllabus. ICAS measures its Carbon Footprint annually and reports annually under the CDP framework. We are developing our own net zero pathway including a timeline for achieving this.

For more information, visit the ICAS website.

Regnskap Norge

Accounting Norway has worked systematically with sustainability and circular economy for the last five years and will continue to do so. We have ensured a sustainable business model for Accounting Norway. We have influenced the sustainability agenda across political parties in the Parliament and educated and enabled our members to deliver professional services within sustainability.

For more information, visit the Regnskap Norge website.

The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA)

JICPA has issued its SDGs declaration and made ambitious commitments.

We took several climate change mitigation actions including energy saving and advocacy on climate change reporting.

We are currently developing our clean energy plan, such as energy shift to renewable-based, and support mechanism to our members.