ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
The accountants surveyed were aware of the links between corporate value and natural capital, and that current trends in natural capital present a variety of different risks to businesses that are likely to increase over time
—Gordon Hewitt, sustainability advisor and author of report, ACCA

Eighty-one per cent of accountants surveyed in ACCA’s (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) paper agreed about where responsibility for the environment lies

The private sector has a responsibility to protect the natural environment is a key finding of a new paper called Natural Capital – what do accountants think? which has been published by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

Accountants in the survey also identified the top five risks that natural capital poses to operations in the private sector, as being: 

  1. Reputational risk (68%)
  2. Disruption of operations (61%)
  3. Scarcity and increased cost of resources (50%)
  4. Supply chain risk (47%)
  5. Financing risk (46%)

Gordon Hewitt, sustainability advisor at ACCA and author of the report, said: 'Natural capital, which is the stock of capital derived from natural resources such as biological diversity, ecosystems and the services they provide, is in decline globally. The loss of natural capital exposes companies to a range of new risks and opportunities that can impact profit, asset value and cashflow.

'This paper was produced as a result of a survey in which more than 200 accountancy professionals took part. It was also featured in the ACCA, KPMG and Fauna & Flora International report Is natural capital a material issue?

'The initial report, which was produced last year, investigated the concept of materiality, how it is used to identify issues for management and disclosure and the extent to which it currently reflects the significance of natural capital as a business issue. 

'The accountants surveyed were aware of the links between corporate value and natural capital, and that current trends in natural capital present a variety of different risks to businesses that are likely to increase over time. 

'However this awareness has not flowed into widespread corporate action as many of the accountants surveyed work for organisations that do not report on natural capital. The key barriers to greater uptake include a lack of guidance, valuation methodologies and understanding.'

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For more information, please contact:

Alana Sinnen, ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5807
+44 (0) 7715 812120
alana.sinnen@accaglobal.com 

Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5759
+44 (0)7725 498654
helen.thompson@accaglobal.com 

Notes to Editors

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.