How accountants can save the world

Accountants' Office

Will accountants save the world? That was one of the most provocative questions to come out of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development last week.

While it will take some time to get an answer to that question, the fact that it’s being asked demonstrates the level of concrete involvement in sustainability issues by the business community, which was more involved — and more engaged — than at any United Nations conference in history. And at least at the city and organization levels, cross-sector collaboration was evident, declarations rampant and commitment to concrete action well underway.

Especially in the finance sector, where arguably the most opportunity exists, I heard a lot that gave me reason to hope. During my time in Rio, I talked to bankers, accountants, business leaders and academics — all of whom spoke passionately about the need to value and appropriately account for nature.

Here are five efforts that stood out as examples of the role that just about every stakeholder in the financial markets system — bankers, investors, insurers, corporations, accountants, top executives, stock exchanges, or financial analysts — can play:

Natural Capital Declaration (NCD)’s 39 banks, investors and insurers (see Principles for Sustainable Insurance) joining forces with more than 50 countries — including the UK, Philippines and South Africa, as well as corporations, including Unilever, Dow Chemical and Puma — to make a collective call for natural capital valuation. A strong start, but one issue is that the larger financial institutions are not yet involved.

via How accountants can save the world — maybe | GreenBiz.com.

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