HRH the Prince of Wales told today’s Accounting for Sustainability forum that
accountants must help find ways to quantify the cost of carbon, and that the
environment must not be sidelined during the economic downturn, as an
environmental disaster cannot be reversed.
Prince Charles explained that although the turmoil in the financial markets
had not been felt since the 1929 crash, the environment unlike financial
capital, could not be
‘Environmental systems are more complex and less understood than the global
financial systems. By the time the problem is understood and addressed it will
be too late’ he said.
He asked accountants to take the lead and stressed that the quantifying of
carbon for businesses could not take place without their help.
He said: ‘It is the responsibility of accountants to provide the right tools
to businesses so that the right decision can be made’.
‘Accountants are good at analysing data, quantifying that data and using that
information’ adding that it is also the responsibility of accountants in regards
to the environment to show the best financial approach and shouldn’t disregard
this responsibility in the economic downturn.
The sustainability initiative was set up by Prince Charles in 2004 to help
companies quantify environmental costs in their financial reporting.
The event was attended by various members of the main market. The speech was
followed by a forum in which companies such as HSBC, BT, BP and all six
institutes including the ICAEW and CIMA, talked through ways that the companies
could develop the framework set out in the accounting for sustainability
programme, as well as the pros and cons of the original principle.
In regards to the economic climate, Prince Charles said that the credit
crunch and sustainaibility go ‘hand in hand’ and that in future bankers and
those in the financial services industry will need to understand the
sustainability repercussions of their lending.
He ended his statement by saying: ‘New solutions often can and do present
themselves in times of economic crisis’.
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