Chartered Accountants Ireland signs global pledge to combat climate change

Feb 25, 2020

Project led by Prince Charles urges accountants to act on climate emergency

Chartered Accountants Ireland today announced that it is one of 14 accounting bodies worldwide to become signatories to a call to action on climate change issued by “Accounting for Sustainability” (A4S). A4S is Prince Charles’ Accounting for Sustainability Project and was established in 2004 with the aim of promoting sustainable decision-making in business. 

The memorandum of understanding signed by Chartered Accountants Ireland today states that signatories will commit to providing the training and infrastructure that accountants need, as well as supporting initiatives and providing the evidence needed to take action on climate change. In signing the memorandum, Chartered Accountants Ireland recognises that climate change is an economic, social and business risk that accountants must take action on collectively as a profession and individually as professionals working in the public interest. 

The 14 accounting bodies signed up to the agreement represent a total of 2.5 million accountants and students worldwide, and now includes the 28,500 members represented by Chartered Accountants Ireland, the largest accountancy body on the island of Ireland.

Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive of Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “I am delighted to sign the Accounting for Sustainability memorandum, which commits Chartered Accountants Ireland to taking a leadership position on the need for greater action on sustainability, and to facilitating that change through our membership. We know that the role of Chartered Accountants is changing as the need to do business sustainably becomes more central to how companies and consumers operate. 

We are focused on a future where members and the businesses they advise are better equipped to strive towards a net-zero economy sooner rather than later. We believe the accountancy profession can play a role in achieving climate change mitigation and adaptation. It will take commitment and it will take action, and we are pledging both today.”

The signing of the memorandum is one part of a programme of sustainable initiatives already underway at Chartered Accountants Ireland. The Institute’s programme includes an Expert Working Group consisting of members drawn from practice and industry who are working to address the development of research and voice for the profession in the area of sustainability. 

The Institute’s programme also includes an ongoing calendar of events, with networking, CPD training and professional development opportunities for members on sustainability, including most recently a Sustainable Finance event held at the Irish embassy in London, where members heard from a panel of experts on the challenges and opportunities for accountants and finance leaders working in this area.

As a profession, Chartered Accountants are increasingly relied upon to advise companies on the policies and procedures that underpin doing business more sustainably and reporting on this fact for the benefit of stakeholders, customers and consumers. 

About the Memorandum 

As a signatory to the memorandum, Chartered Accountants Ireland is committing to the following actions:

• To provide members with the training, support and infrastructure needed;

• To support relevant market-based policy initiatives and incentives;

• To provide sound advice to help governments to create the policy and regulatory infrastructure necessary for a just transition to a net-zero carbon economy. 

The memorandum also includes pledges for professional accountants individually: 

• To provide sound advice and services as organisations and governments develop and implement plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation;

• To contribute to the efforts of their organisations to integrate climate change risk into organisational strategy, finance, operations and communications;

• To use and implement existing and developing reporting frameworks such as those from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and the International Integrated Reporting Council.

• To support sustainable decision-making within their organisations.

The memorandum can be viewed in full here:

Fiachradh McDermott | Gibney Communications | 087 655 7070 | 01 661 0402

About Chartered Accountants Ireland

Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 28,500 members around the world. Chartered Accountants Ireland is a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, the global alliance that brings together over 1.8 million Chartered accountants and students in more than 185 countries.

About Accounting for Sustainability

The Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) was established by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2004 with the aim of promoting sustainable decision making in business. A4S works with Chief Financial Officers and finance teams, the accounting community, governments, regulators, policy makers and the wider finance community across the globe. A4S established the Accounting Bodies Network in 2008 to work with professional accounting bodies as they recognise and incorporate principles of sustainability in their organisations.