Give the IASB resources to set carbon guidelines

We are just weeks away from world leaders meeting in Copenhagen to thrash out
plans for reducing carbon emissions. At the same time accountancy professionals
are acutely aware that companies, especially large multinationals, do not have a
standardised accounting approach for dealing with the value of carbon on the
balance sheet. That’s not a good state of affairs given the pressing need to
integrate concern for the environment into every aspect of our working lives.

It’s no good simply blaming the International Accounting Standards Board. The
organisation has been under pressure since the beginning of the credit crunch
over the issue of fair value and numerous other problems and its resources are
limited. Much of that distraction has been caused by governments and
institutions dragging the IASB into responding to political pressure. And much
of that has been an unnecessary drain on the board.

If we accept there is no bigger issue than the environment then we need to
accept that the IASB needs to be resourced in way to deal with it. Politicians
will need to recognise that too. As will the organisations providing the IASB’s

There can be no better way to engage companies in thinking about the
environment than if they have to consider the reporting requirements laid out in
an accounting standard. If you want finance directors to grapple with the
environment, give them an accounting standard to wrestle with. If accountancy
really wants to play its part in improving environmental conditions, it cannot
afford to put these issues off for very much longer.

Further reading:

appear in carbon emissions accounting

Related reading

Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.