Just before Christmas he appeared at an Accounting for Sustainability event
and appealed to advisers to ensure that some way is found to quantify the cost
of carbon and asked them to take the lead in providing the right tools to
present the costs to business.
Oh dear. Will HRH get anyone’s attention as they fight the effects of
recession, financial crisis and the credit crunch. Does anyone care now that
they have more pressings issues to deal with… like survival? Could you have
persuaded Woolies’ execs to think about carbon footprints as they struggled to
save more than 25,000 jobs? Are the guys who used to work at Lehman Brothers
thinking about tools for quantifying carbon costs?
I think not and the fact is that going into the New Year what’s going to be
on the mind of accountants and FDs is cash flow, liquidity, working capital,
cost cutting. ‘How do I make the world a better place?’, as noble and worthy and
pressing as that is, is likely to slip down the corporate and accounting agenda.
That’s a shame because as Prince Charles pointed out, great solutions often
come at a time of crisis and cutting carbon costs could work well as part of
general cost cutting measures.
And he has the accounting institutes on board partly because everyone likes
to work with HRH, but also because they buy into the green accounting mission.
On the day of Charles’ speech the institutes, along with big companies like BT
and HSBC, gathered in a huddle to discuss what they could do next a sort of
extended green gentlemen’s club.
Shame of it was that part of the process remained shut away behind a closed
door. One thing this project will need is publicity and one way of doing that
would have been to throw those doors wide open. Every little helps. Especially
in the current climate. If you’ll excuse the pun.
Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age
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