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March 19, 2013

ACCA survey shows importance of nature capital to accountancy

Accountants believe that the private sector has a responsibility in protecting the environment, a joint survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), KPMG and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) found.

More than eight in ten respondents to the Natural Capital – what do accountants think? survey agreed that the private sector has a responsibility to protect the natural environment, while over 60% of surveyed accountants said that the long term success of their organisations is dependent on the natural world.

Accordingly, accountants believe that trends in natural capital can pose risks to the private sector. The top five risks identified by the respondents of the survey were:Reputational risk (68%), disruption of operations (61%), scarcity and increased cost of resources (50%), supply chain risk (47%) and financing risk (46%.)

While most surveyed accountants expect these risks to increase in the future, 62% of them stated the non existence of their organisations’ reporting on nature capital. Only 3% of respondents said they work for organisations that extensively report on natural capital.

As barriers to reporting on this subject, the accountants highlighted a lack of disclosure guidance, the lack of understanding and valuation methodologies.

Consequently, 75% of respondents felt that guidance and training on natural capital issues would help to manage the risks and opportunities presented by them.

"The accountants surveyed were aware of the links between corporate value and natural capital," ACCA sustainability advisor Gordon Hewitt commented.

"However this awareness has not flowed into widespread corporate action as many of the accountants surveyed work for organisations that do not report on natural capital," he summarised.

ACCA, KPMG and FFI surveyed 218 accountants out of 17 business sectors in 50 countries. 19 % of the accountants held a management position.

Related links

Survey: Natural Capital – what do accountants think?

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants


Fauna and Flora International

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