PracticeAuditICAEW green report attacked by environmentalists

ICAEW green report attacked by environmentalists

The ICAEW has made its boldest attempt yet to display its green credentials, with the release of a report arguing that accountants have the skills to help 'save the planet'.

Link: Tap into the environment

But Sustainability: the role of accountants, was quickly attacked as window dressing by environmentalists.

Martyn Williams, senior parliamentary campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said the report looked like a ‘greenwash’, because ICAEW chief executive Eric Anstee signed a letter to the Financial Times calling for a delay to the operating and financial review.

‘I welcome anything accountants are doing to look at how they can support corporate responsibility and sustainable development, but I would point out that contrast,’ he said.

The 116-page report included a survey of 140 accountancy firms, which revealed that just 3.5% have specialist knowledge in sustainable development, environmental or social issues.

It also pointed the finger at business, with almost two-thirds (63%) of firms saying they thought environmental issues were ‘largely irrelevant’ to the majority of their clients.

ICAEW president Paul Druckman said: I cannot think of any profession better qualified to help business demonstrate that their commitment to sustainability is more than warm words.’

Alarm bells are still ringing over last week’s discovery of unexpectedly high CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Richard Murphy, an accountant with the Tax Justice Network, said: ‘The ICAEW thinks it is promoting sustainability and yet this report remains wedded to the notion of tax minimisation, an activity that threatens the whole sustainability of our society.’

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