The International Federation of Accountants expressed support for a United Nations agreement on climate change as the U.N. works to reduce carbon emissions.
The agreement is expected to be unveiled at a conference in Paris in December. IFAC said in a letter it supports a universal agreement and effective international dialogue to encourage the transition toward resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.
The group said an international agreement on long-term global emissions reduction would assist governments, capital markets, and private and public sector organizations—and the professional accountants who serve them—to more confidently identify necessary actions to mitigate climate change. A strong and clear agreement is also more likely to unleash government and business ingenuity and innovation in both managing and solving climate change challenges.
IFAC’s three key messages on climate action are:
• A global climate agreement at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties needs to deliver a clear framework for international action that provides the policy environment to facilitate investment and innovation.
• Going forward, it will be important to examine the range of different reporting frameworks and regulations in existence and identify a path to global consistency to ensure governments and businesses are given a clear and consistent context in which to operate and report on their actions.
• Professional accountants in their various roles―in public practice for accounting firms of all sizes and working in business, industry, and the public and not-for-profit sectors―have a significant contribution to make in helping governments, capital markets, and organizations implement plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation. They have long been on the front-lines of helping others adapt to changes in society; mitigating and adapting to the challenges of climate change will be no different.
“Climate change is subject to intense public debate and scrutiny. But what is clear is that there is a critical economic, business, and societal need to respond to the warming of the climate by reducing global emissions,” said IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury in a statement. “Increased climate risk presents uncertainty creating threats and opportunities for governments and businesses and the societies they serve. This issue is important to the global accountancy profession and we aim to continue working with a range of stakeholders to address the challenges ahead.”