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ICAEW wants green policies, not more hot air

The Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
has sent a document to the main political parties ahead of the UK general
election in 2010, asking them to raise the importance of issues such as
environmental reporting within the Treasury and to strengthen public awareness
of emissions reporting.

The ICAEW’s Manifesto for good government and sustainable economic recovery
sets out ways parties can raise the green agenda, but asks them to refrain from
placing an “excessive burden” on businesses when it comes to reducing emissions.

It suggests a globally-accepted single standard for measuring and reporting
on company greenhouse gas emissions should be drawn up to replace the “existing
plethora” of schemes. “This will help business leaders and investors to take
climate change issues into account when making investment decisions,” it says.
This should be led by a body such as the International Accounting Standards
Board, “with the global authority to promulgate the standards”.
The institute suggests the ruling party would need to:
• Develop it through collaboration with all stakeholders, not just the
accounting community;
• Avoid placing an excessive burden on businesses; and
• Obtain political support from governments around the world.

As well as setting out guidelines on broader topics including better public
spending management, improving the tax system, supporting environmental
sustainability and restoring trust in financial services, the institute believes
government needs to co-ordinate global environmental policies to limit
anti-competitiveness among other countries.

The ICAEW says: “We must allow global markets to incorporate the
environmental cost of economic behaviour into financial decision making,
rebalancing the economy towards sustainable outcomes.”

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