According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021, failing to adapt and mitigate and to the current global climate change will be “the most impactful” and second most likely long-term risk identified—more so than water crises and weapons of mass destruction. The impacts of climate change do not only affect temperature but also sea level rising and changes in weather patterns such as flooding, drought, and much more. These are all things that society depend upon and value—water, energy, agriculture, wildlife, transportation, health, ecosystem, and others.
In light of that, there will be several global events upcoming in the following months starting from the ICAEW Climate Change Summit on 18th -22nd October; the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that aims to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. While climate change cannot be stopped, people and organizations must embrace climate change adaptation and do the best possible actions to reduce other stressors in the ecosystem. Furthermore, there are efforts to champion the UN’s Race to Zero goals where three professional accountancy bodies — ICAEW, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), and Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) joined forces to encourage their members to come together to fight the climate crisis through the 1000 Chartered Accountant campaign Initiative.
12 December 2015: The Historic Paris Agreement
“A world that is safer and more secure, more prosperous, and more free,” is the world that former US president Barack Obama envisioned people today would leave behind for their children and future leaders when nearly 200 countries came together to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement. As the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement, the Paris Agreement sets out a global framework in order to avoid any further climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C and putting in efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. This united effort is not only a way to deal with the impacts of climate change, but also a way to strengthen countries’ abilities and to support them in their efforts.
Corporate Honesty & Responsibilities in Climate Change
As mother earth and its inhabitants are becoming increasingly exposed to the harms and impacts of the climate crisis, the entities with the most power to stop this negative impact are the corporations and businesses. Corporations are the producers of everything that is being bought, used, and thrown away, which plays a major role in driving global climate change into its current state. According to a published report, over 100 energy companies have been solely responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions, and not only that, the top 15 U.S. food and beverage companies generate almost 630 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.
A green recovery will require investments in completely reshaping the entire businesses and corporations process, which leads to the Race To Zero global campaign. Mobilizing over 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors, and 622 Higher Education Institutions, this global campaign aims to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, and regions to reach a healthy and resilient zero-carbon recovery to prevent any future threats, create more job opportunities, and unlock inclusive and sustainable growth. Joining over 120 countries, this is the largest alliance to date that is fully committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Joining Forces towards the Race to Net Zero
The challenge to reach net-zero is a pressing issue, therefore, organisations have to place it as a priority and take immediate practical action. As part of the response to this urgent issue, three major accounting bodies — ICAEW, ICAS, and CAI have joined forces to discover, support, and encourage 1,000 Chartered Accountants to sign up and commit towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions. The need for climate action has been on the radar of these three accounting bodies since the slow increase of climate crisis, thus creating this 1,000 Chartered Accountants campaign for accountants around the world to use their voices to drive climate actions within their, and their clients’ organizations.
This climate-related shift could be as transformational as the dawn of the internet and businesses that fail to adapt will be at risk while those that manage to fully embrace this change will welcome greater opportunities. Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, shares, “As trusted advisers who help businesses make the right decisions, it’s crucial our profession plays its part in the race to a zero-carbon economy. I urge all Chartered Accountants to join us in the fight against climate change.” The core principles of human rights are deeply intertwined with the climate agenda, hence unless we protect those who are most exposed to the risks of climate change, we can expect negative implications on global stability, peace, and security. Ultimately, our destination is a sustainable future that allows today’s youths and future generations a safer and more equitable world as the leaders of tomorrow.