Editorial: bottom line for the planet

Accountants are at the heart of efforts to preserve the environment. And yet
the results of our reader research shows that the profession appears to suffer
from an alarming lack of information.

To read our green special click

If business is to play its role in reducing the pollutants, toxins and
greenhouse gases pouring into the environment, accountants are best placed to
measure the extent of the problem and disclose it through company accounts. But
they need the tools to do it.

As Live Earth concerts around the globe this weekend attempt to encourage
people to tackle the climate crisis, Accountancy Age has taken the opportunity
to highlight the role of accountants. Their work will be twofold. Firstly, to
develop the tools required to measure environmental impact, and secondly to
implement them.

That’s why, among other issues, we focus on events at the EC on segmental
reporting in our news pages, and Prince Charles’ Accounting for Sustainability
project in our Insider section.

It’s also why Eden Project managing director Gaynor Coley explores the role
of business leaders in our Comment section, alongside the views of Friends of
the Earth on the Business Review.

What this special green issue shows is that, if accountants are to play their
part in halting the deterioration of the climate, it will indeed be

But we sound a note of warning. Our reader survey throws up some alarming
news. More than half believe it should be mandatory

to report on environmental performance in a business review, regardless of
the materiality.

Around two thirds say the government has provided little direction on
business and the environment, while only 6% feel they have enough information.
More than half of respondents are only ‘partially’ aware of the business
benefits from reducing emissions. A startling one in ten have no idea what the
benefits could be.

If the environment is our number one concern – this vacuum cannot be allowed
to persist.

In devoting this issue to the environment, we are doing our part to increase
awareness, something we pledge to continue.

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