Launch of the Net-Zero Accountancy initiative for the UK profession


Net Zero Now estimates accounting practices in the UK are responsible for nearly half a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year

Called the Net-Zero Accountancy Initiative, the program is run jointly by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Certification body Good Business Charter, human resources and payroll technology giant Sage and climate action consultancy Net Zero Now are also helping to lead the program. Net Zero Now is notably the organization behind the British initiative Net-Zero Pubs and Bars.

As part of the Net-Zero Accountancy initiative, accounting firms will be able to access a profession-wide net-zero protocol. The protocol informs a new standard by which companies can apply for a certification mark. This certification mark can be used to prove that a company is operating at net zero status or working towards net zero on a certain date.

To help companies meet the requirements of the standard, the Initiative provides a digital platform hosting information and tools for measuring emissions and developing bespoke emission reduction plans. The platform also offers an offset purchase portal to offset unavoidable residual emissions.

The official launch of the initiative today (April 26) follows a pilot project that ran from November 2021 to January 2022. This pilot project found that the top sources of emissions for most accounting firms small to medium-sized are energy for offices, employee travel, business travel and IT equipment. As such, the sector is not particularly difficult to reduce. Instead, the pilot found that barriers to achieving net zero for SMEs included a lack of internal resources and expertise to measure, reduce and offset emissions.

“Achieving net zero requires careful and consistent measurement, accounting, reporting and auditing – and the skills of accountants are critical to achieving all of this,” said Glenn Collins, head of policy, technical and strategic engagement at ACCA.

“As a professional body with our own commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – including achieving zero zero – we know that our members are committed to providing solutions in the public interest and to achieving the climate change goals. Being part of this leading steering group will ensure a cohesive and coordinated approach, because reaching net zero cannot happen in silos – it requires integrated thinking, expertise and action.

“Widespread change on net zero can only be achieved through collective action by business, government, NGOs and civil society, and accountants can play a vital leadership role in this, the director added. of ICAEW Sustainability, Richard Spencer.

Readers interested in this news may want to revisit an exclusive blog post from ACCA Sustainability Manager Emmeline Skelton, written for edie last month as part of our International Women’s Day 2022 coverage. Access this blog here.

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