Australia's major professional accounting bodies have joined international peers in a net zero greenhouse gas emissions initiative.
CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) have today joined 12 other global and national accounting bodies in an initiative of The Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Project Accounting Bodies Network (ABN).
CPA Australia and CA ANZ have pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions within their own organisations and to provide sound advice to governments for a just transition to a net zero emissions economy.
Further, the professional bodies will providing training and guidance to members to support them in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their own organisations and businesses.
CPA Australia and CA ANZ represent over 300,000 accountants globally.
CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand are members of The Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability Accounting Bodies Network. This network represents over 2.5 million professional accountants and students across 179 countries. Fourteen ABN members have signed the Net Zero Commitment.
In joining the initiative, the two accounting bodies acknowledge that climate change is an economic risk and the accounting profession plays a significant role in tackling the challenges created by climate change.
"The accounting profession occupies a privileged position in the global economy," said CPA Australia chief executive Andrew Hunter. "As trusted advisers, we're privy to deep business insights about sustainability risks and opportunities. This knowledge creates an obligation to use our skills to protect our environmental heritage. CPA Australia is a global organisation in a global profession and we're proud to be part of the global response to climate change."
CA ANZ chief executive Ainslie van Onselen cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a "living example" of the impact that non-financial risks can have on businesses and global economies.
"Climate change is a non-financial risk that is no longer an issue on the horizon, it's here and now," van Onselen said. "CA ANZ is committed to equipping members to meet these new challenges. As customers and investors increasingly consider sustainability in their decision making, the accounting profession is well placed to support a just transition."
The economic impact of climate change is also gaining attention in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) next month.
"The accounting bodies making this commitment are showing leadership in the fight against climate change," said A4S executive chairman Jessica Fries. "Accountants who work for the good of their businesses, and serve the public interest, have always been the backbone of stable economies. This commitment brings us closer to building a sustainable world."