Going Net Zero

November 2022

Accountancy firms have a key role to play in helping organisations limit their carbon footprint
As record-breaking temperatures, natural disasters and disaster displacement across the world this year has shown, climate change remains a global crisis that is only getting more serious.

The government has put in place a legally binding target for the UK to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 (and cut them 78% by 2035, when compared with 1990 levels). This essentially means that, as a country, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we produce will have to be balanced against the amount that we remove from the atmosphere.

Businesses of all sizes across the UK must take action to limit their carbon footprint and reduce emissions, and they need to act now. Accountants sit at the heart of all businesses and as such are a vital catalyst for change. There are over 280,000 accountants in the UK who advise over five million businesses and individuals, and so have enormous outreach and opportunity for instigating climate action.

Developing a credible sustainability strategy will allow accountancy firms to play a key role in advising businesses on how to mitigate risks and maximise opportunities.

Meanwhile, making offices more energy efficient can actually save you money, as well as spurring innovation for new products and services within your business.

Accountants have key role

Increased investor, consumer, government and public pressure to reach Net Zero means that climate litigation is increasing worldwide. And while we already have obligations in place on our larger firms to report on their carbon emissions, we can expect that to soon be rolled out to all UK businesses, no matter their size. ‘Carbon accounting’ as it is known will soon become a requirement for all businesses and it will be our accountancy firms who will be asked to lead the way in tracking and reporting this, as we all embark on the road to Net Zero.

Net Zero is a pragmatic response to the climate challenge which many large professional service businesses are already working towards, proving that environmentally-conscious companies can operate profitably.

Going Net Zero is an opportunity to lead by example before more drastic measures are put into place.

David Rothera, Climate Project Manager at Net Zero Now, said: “Net Zero Now develops sector specific Net Zero Protocols to help SMEs more easily navigate global guidelines such as the GHG Protocol and SBTi. In fact, one of the first Net Zero Protocols developed was for the accountancy sector as we believe that accountants can play a key role in tackling the climate crisis.”

Get certified as a Net Zero accountancy practice: see www.netzeronow.org/accountants