Overview: a princely sum

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England’s heir to the throne’s championing of environmental policies has
earned him the casual title of ‘The Green Prince’.

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The Prince of Wales has done much in his personal quest for a greener life,
including encouraging his staff to cycle around London, converting both his
Jaguar and his Land Rover to run on used cooking oil, installing a reed-bed
sewage system for his country house and a roof-harvested rainwater irrigation
system for the garden.

What’s happened?

The Prince’s use of helicopters and jets in recent years has been called into
question. Some have gone so far as to say he’s been hypocritical in preaching
his green sermon while continuing to live a lifestyle which is environmentally

Last week his accounts came under close public scrutiny and Prince Charles’
reputation has now been reinstated as his carbon emissions were revealed to have
dropped by nine per cent.

Earlier this year the Prince of Wales called on accountants to come up with a
robust way to account for the impact humanity has on the environment. In his
speech at the ICAEW, he warned that unless a practical system is developed to
account for long-term factors and damage to the Earth, there may be little left
for our posterity.

But he faces his own difficulties, with the Green Party taking a swing at his
record on carbon emissions. If he lectures others, he will have to be squeaky

What’s going to happen?

In launching his new project, and stating that the accountancy profession
‘has yet to’ come up with a way of accounting for our actions which impact on
the environment in the long term, the Prince of Wales has now thrust a massive
responsibility on to the shoulders of accountants.

Its impact could be felt in several ways but, perhaps significantly in the
accounting community, also herald the start of a whole new set of ‘green’

If investors – who are swinging thick and fast in the direction of
environmentally ethical endeavours – find it favourable enough, they could use
their might to push company managers and standard setters into making these

The difficulty Prince Charles will personally face is to avoid being involved
in damaging environmental activities, whilst lecturing others on best
environment practice. The press has him marked but if he can avoid mishaps, his
message will carry a long way.

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