Big Four firm Deloitte has launched a joint initiative with ICAEW which calls on businesses and the profession to respond to climate change

As part of the initiative a dedicated website and video learning programme have been launched for ICAEW members, finance professionals and non-executive directors.

These aim to educate those in the profession and across financial services about climate change and to help finance professionals and businesses to do more about tackling it.

Over two modules, the video learning programme explores the effects of climate change on businesses and ways they can implement changes to manage risk and benefit from opportunities.

 The key focus is on the financial statements and how to translate the effects of climate change into tangible measures.

Nigel Sleigh-Johnson, head of financial reporting, audit and assurance at ICAEW, highlighted how downgraded credit ratings and even bankruptcy could be related to extreme weather patterns, saying that the implications should not be underestimated.

“For business to adapt successfully to these impacts will require systematic change, and this cannot be achieved without understanding and involvement on the part of finance professionals,” he added.

Veronica Poole, head of accounting and corporate reporting at Deloitte North and South Europe, said that the firm had launched the site “because climate change is likely to drive some of the most profound changes to businesses in our lifetimes”.

The impacts across business, she explained, are not only from more frequent and climate-related events, but also from increasing policy and regulatory changes.

“Our programme sets out the business case for action and practical steps for change, with the principal goal to help companies place their climate change response as a key element of their business models.”

In December 2018, some of the world’s largest investors warned that failure to cut carbon emissions could lead to another financial crisis.

 Today, prime minister Theresa May announced that the UK is to eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050 and that the Climate Change Act 2008 will be amended to reflect this promise.

“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change,” May said, adding that the 2050 target is ambitious but crucial.