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Accountants Urge Private Sector to Lead Climate Action Awareness

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By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The private sector in Nigeria has been urged to take a leading role in the fight against environmental collapse and help promote climate action in the country.

This advice was given by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) during the special screening of its new climate action film in Nigeria titled Our Planet: Our Business. The movie was inspired by a similar narrated Netflix series by David Attenborough.

At the screening, ICAEW’s Director of Sustainability, Mr Richard Spencer, highlighted the risks of climate change to businesses across the African continent and how companies can minimise the impact they have on the planet.

A report by the African Climate Policy Centre had projected that the gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa might suffer significantly as a result of a global temperature increase.

“Climate change is a defining issue of our time, and is having a growing impact on the African continent,” Mr Spencer stated.

He emphasised that the climate emergency represents the greatest risk of modern times, and urged accountancy professionals to also act now and play their part in saving the planet and challenged business leaders to fully recognise the critical link between nature and business prosperity and the leading role the private sector must play in tackling the threat of climate change.

The speakers at the event stressed the importance of including sustainability reports as part of financial statements and stated that corporate reporting should cover sustainability issues critical to businesses.

The information included in sustainability reports must also be prepared to the same high standard as financial performance issues and reporting, they opined, noting that these reports should be an integral part of a company’s performance and accountability in today’s world.

ICAEW’s sustainability experts called for businesses to revaluate how they are affecting the environment both negatively and positively, and ensure that they implement policies around educating their staff how the business is contributing socially and environmentally.

They also agreed that transitioning to zero carbon is the biggest way companies can contribute to climate change and sustainability efforts across the world.

ICAEW is reputed to be the first major professional body to become carbon neutral, offsetting all of its emissions and working towards shrinking its carbon footprint.

As part of ICAEW’s ongoing commitment, the organisation has now created the Sustainability and Climate Change Community with the aim of providing inspiration, insights and collective ambition for professionals delivering on sustainability and acting on climate change.

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