Partner An unnamed firm
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Doing our bit for the planet

Our mystery partner asks whether it is time for the profession to make a small but worthwhile contribution to reduce the perils of climate change.

23rd Sep 2019
Partner An unnamed firm
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Calving Glacier

I can’t imagine that many AccountingWEB subscribers were amongst the global millions who went on strike last Friday in an attempt to raise awareness about the perils of climate change.

The closest I got to making my feelings count was raising a wry but weary smile while passing Extinction Rebellion campaigners blocking Oxford Circus with their sweet, ramshackle boat supported by sweet, ramshackle hippie types.

Members of our esteemed profession are primarily concerned with doing business and making money. That doesn’t always sit well with protecting the environment, as the arch businessman/US President Donald Trump makes so patently clear with his dogged denial of what appears to be irrefutable scientific data.

Even so, I imagine that given the choice between doing a little bit to protect the planet for the future, not to mention our own interests and those of children, grandchildren etc, or letting things slide into oblivion, most of us would be happy to make an effort.

What can we do?

Let’s bypass the joys of standing outside Parliament screaming abuse at whoever happens to be the Prime Minister that week. In any event, MPs are currently playing hooky so they wouldn’t even notice.

Travel is an obvious area where we can make a small difference. Bearing in mind the number of lunches we are obliged to attend and the dangers that these eventually pose to health, walking or cycling on shorter journeys make obvious sense. Indeed, in central London that can often be the fastest route between any two points.

Failing that, using public transport rather than your car or a taxi service can also save time as well as helping the planet.

I would also like to think that the next time you buy a car it might be hybrid or electric, particularly those of you facing a journey into London’s congestion zone every day. Saving on smog and the wallet at the same time is an unbeatable combination.

Cutting down on air travel is another potential goal and I have begun to think before booking flights, considering whether a domestic train or Eurostar might work for shorter journeys and even thinking about Skype to cut out the long-haul flights. Having said that, I’m still heading for America on holiday soon but will at least feel a bit guilty about doing so.

On a grander scale, if you have influence over the locations of conferences, thinking about a venue that minimises air and road travel might be a positive step.

Recycling everything possible should be a given, but some are lazier than others in this respect. Staff members might complain but turning the heating down a tad could also be of benefit, while it must be time to turn your office paperless, thereby saving more money at the same time as trees.

I don’t want to sound too extreme but the next stage of the process could be giving up on red meat or possibly meat altogether since its generation is another cause of climate change. Frankly, changing to a diet that is largely vegetarian or fish-based is also much healthier and could well extend your life.

Having done so, you will have an even greater vested interest in defending the planet, since the last thing any of us needs is to spend our old age in a perpetual oven, with only brief periods of respite when the ice takes over.

Does any of this really matter? If you listen to Donald Trump, the answer is “no”. However, who listens to Donald Trump?

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