On the money with Gavin Hinks

Gavin Hinks, AccountancyAge

But I can’t help feeling that throwing his lot in with the Tories could prove
to be a disappointment. At the very least, his latest project with former Tory
environment supremo John Gummer won’t impress accountants.

Last week the two launched the Conservatives’ well-intentioned Quality of
Life commission with a demand that big business post their big bad carbon
emissions in their annual reports.

Can’t fault that. Except that the idea is arriving a little late to the party
(whatever its political hue). It’s lacking a bit of info, too. What companies
really need is a means, and a method, by which they can report. Otherwise
results will hardly be comparable and end up meaningless. Enter stage left (no,
really) Prince Charles and Sir Michael Peat who have together established that
very thing ­ a project to produce a green reporting standard.

Now, that doesn’t mean anyone will use it. Formulating the details of how it
will work is only part of the hard work. A project of persuasion will follow.
But making the demand before a viable methodology is in place is sliding the
cart well and truly before the horse. With HRH’s project complete, apologists
will have nowhere to hide and will be unable to claim they have no technical
means to report their emissions. Doing things this way round makes sense and is
frankly a tribute to Sir Michael’s thinking.

Nor does it place the issue under a political banner ­ something that big
business would be a little uncomfortable with. Besides, who would you rather
spend lunch with discussing the issue? Zac and John, or HRH?

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

Related reading