You’ve got to be in it to win it

We’re in a downturn, so some service lines, such as corporate finance, are
suffering. So you would think the firms would jump at the chance of opening up
potentially lucrative new services. I have in mind something like advice on the
environment or corporate responsibility. But it seems the firms aren’t overly

A quick look at the data we collected for our 2008 Top 50 survey shows that
only six firms out of the 76 we spoke with advise on CSR. To me, that is like
throwing money away.

It’s not clear whether firms truly understand the severity of the climate
change bill. The bill ­ which is on course to receive Royal Assent by this
summer ­ will mean that if the government fails to meet the set target of
reducing emissions by 60-80% by 2050, it can be punished in a court of law.

The government has already unleashed environmental taxes, with possibly more
to follow, to meet its targets.

But businesses will face further legislation and red tape as part of this
campaign. Because of this they will need their ‘green’ impacts and emissions
audited or assessed.

As a result it’s perplexing why firms have not rushed into the environmental
arena to drum up business from every nook and cranny. While potentially
lucrative in its own right, and serving society, it also has the added benefit
of compensating for the drop in business that comes with a worsening economy.

Access Accounting has seen the opportunities by creating software to
calculate emissions, and even James Cowper, 55th on our Top 50 survey, has
recently created an environmental advisory division. Sadly, their efforts are
rare among the firms. Let’s hope others see the green light soon. Those who lag
behind are likely to be the ones who stay behind.

Rachael Singh covers green business for Accountancy Age

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