Accounting professor will cross Amazon for climate initiative


Kurt Sartorius, professor of accounting at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, plans to paddle the Rio Madre, a tributary of the Amazon River, in July with his son Benn to record the damage caused to the environment by the deforestation in an effort to sensitize the accountancy profession to climate change.

Sartorius, who first crossed the Amazon River in 1972, said the trip “will clearly demonstrate that climate change has no geographical boundaries”. The trip represents a “unique opportunity for the accountancy profession in South Africa to launch its own initiative on global climate change”, he added. He believes the profession can fight climate change by regularly featuring such news in corporate reports and strategic plans in the future.

“The accounting profession, led by institutions such as SAICA/IRBA, can emphasize integrated thinking and lifelong learning and demonstrate how the business world can use this in its reporting to demonstrate its understanding of and support for climate change issues,” Sartorius said in a statement. “Over time, the enormous cumulative impact of corporate attention to climate change reporting will translate into visible progress.”

Professor Kurt Sartorius

Sartorius added that the investment community in Canada and abroad has increased its recognition of climate change in financial risk, which can also lead to lasting change.

“Now is the time for the accountancy profession to become global leaders in the fight against climate change, Sartorius said in a statement. “The profession has all the attributes to do so, namely the best minds, the strategic skills and the necessary resources.”

The trip to the Amazon will raise funds for a dedicated reforestation project in Rondonia, Brazil, run by the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Accountancy and the National Amazon Research Institute.

“I would like to persuade the accounting profession in Canada to sponsor [and] finance this rainforest project based on the number of [kilometers] covered, as well as reaching out to its international partners to do the same,” Sartorius said in a statement. “The funds raised will be paid into a dedicated account administered by Wits with the following link:”


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