ACCA and other global accountancy bodies come together for net zero

Thirteen professional accountancy bodies have joined forces to fight climate change by committing to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions


Thirteen professional accountancy bodies from around the world – including AAT, ACCA, ICAEW, ICAS, and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants – have joined forces to fight climate change by committing to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The accountancy bodies are part of The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), the Accounting Bodies Network. This network represents more than 2.5 million professional accountants and students, who work with businesses and governments in 179 countries.

About A4S

The aim of the A4S Project is to make sustainable business, business as usual.

HRH The Prince of Wales established A4S in 2004 to work with the finance and accounting community to:

  • inspire finance leaders to adopt sustainable and resilient business models
  • transform financial decision making to reflect the opportunities and risks posed by the climate crisis and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues
  • scale up action to transition to a sustainable economy.

A4S has three global networks:

  • Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Leadership Network - CFOs from leading organisations seeking to transform finance and accounting
  • Accounting Bodies Network (ABN) – members comprise approximately two thirds of the world’s accountants
  • Asset Owners Network – pension fund chairs who integrate sustainability into investment decision-making

The bodies – AAT, ACCA, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Chartered Accountants Ireland, Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori commecialisti e degli Esperti Contabili, CPA Australia, CPA Canada, ICAEW, ICAS, Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW), Regnskap Norge, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA) – have committed to reach net-zero emissions as soon as possible and will publish plans to do so within the next 12 months and report annually to show progress. 

Accountants are well placed within their organisations and with their clients to drive action on the climate crisis. The bodies have therefore also committed to provide their members with training, support, and resources to help them create their own net zero plans and reduce their emissions.

In addition, the bodies have pledged to provide advice to help governments create the policies and infrastructure necessary for transitions to net zero economies. The profession is already at the forefront of helping societies adapt by using accounting practices to help governments adjust economic policy in ways that minimise climate change.

In December 2020, ACCA made commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which we are measuring and will report on in our annual integrated report. We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society and is vital helping economies, organisations and individuals to grow and prosper. This will be done by creating robust trusted financial and business management, combating corruption, ensuring organisations are managed ethically, driving sustainability, and providing rewarding career opportunities.

Heather Hill, AAT president, said: “Following the 2020 call to action by the professional accounting bodies, AAT is pleased to support this statement of commitment to net zero. Climate change is an existential crisis and every one of us, as individuals and organisations, has a part to play in driving the effort to achieve net zero. At AAT we will continue our organisational activity to improve our carbon footprint, but to also help equip our members to engage in this crucial collective effort, and to bring our influence to bear on the government where appropriate.”

Helen Brand, ACCA chief executive, said: “Making these commitments is important to create positive business change – and professional accountants are core to this. They are in a unique position to drive good business decisions with positive impacts on sustainability, including on climate action, in the organisations they lead and work for. ACCA is proud to support these commitments and play our part.”

Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive, said: “The fight against climate change requires urgent global action, so we were pleased to join our fellow bodies from around the world to confirm our commitment to a zero-carbon society.

“We were the first major professional body to become carbon neutral and have brought in measures to help us reach net zero, such as setting up carbon-reducing projects. We will continue to look for ways to minimise our carbon footprint, guide our members on their own net zero journeys and support global action.”

J Bruce Cartwright CA, ICAS chief executive, said: “ICAS is proud to be a signatory to the Accounting Bodies Network commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions and to commit to provide training, support and resources to help our members establish their own net zero pathways based on our experience. The accountancy profession can be a key enabler in the transition to a net zero economy. I believe that if we pool our collective efforts and resources we can achieve our climate change ambitions and make the creation of a healthy and sustainable planet a reality for future generations.”

Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, CEO at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA, said: “Over the past decade, we have been witnessing the direct and indirect impact of environmental-related risks on our communities. It is now abundantly clear that to address these risks and achieve climate-goal ambitions, we must work together and lead the accounting profession by example. Public and management accountants have an important role to play improving an organisation’s integrated thinking and decision-making capabilities to promote responsible and sustainable business practices. They have the necessary skills and expertise to help effect meaningful change in this area. As an organisation, we are fully committed to doing our part and will continue to help our members, their organisations and their clients across the globe support with this mission”.

06 - Accountancy bodies for Net zero _ logo