Chartered Accountants – Guidance and leadership on climate action

National association Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand is at the forefront of proactive climate action. It is active in several areas – demonstrating strong leadership to its members, stakeholders and fellow associations.

This article highlights two areas in which CA ANZ, which represents more than 135,000 financial professionals, is taking action.

Guiding members to help their clients

Two sustainability guides published by CA ANZ capitalise on the role accountants play across our community. CA ANZ knows how accountants work with their clients to manage risks and opportunities, including those associated with climate change.

‘How SMEs can create a more sustainable world’ playbook, (published with CA ANZ’s global partner Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) provides guidance to embed sustainable practice in businesses.

The playbook sets out the role of SMEs in sustainability; developing a sustainability strategy; climate and the environment; waste and the circular economy; and social sustainability.

Accountants are well placed to guide SMEs on how embedding sustainability can strengthen the supply chain, drives down costs, create value, attract talent, and improve access to finance.

‘Purpose People and Planet’ is a playbook for not-for-profits and charities. This NFP playbook includes contains actionable insights, tailored tips and free resources to incorporate sustainability into delivering on their purpose.

The two sustainability playbooks (of nine published to date) provide guidance to both accountants and the target audiences. They can be used by the organisations they’re intended for, and by any related association. For example, the Australasian Promotional Products Association could use the SME playbook to help its members which are mostly small businesses.

Providing information and guidelines enables accountant members to pass on this knowledge to clients. It is an excellent example of the flow-on effect associations can have. It capitalises on CA ANZ’s role as leaders to support members and, through this, influence a much wider cohort of stakeholders.

There’s a huge opportunity for businesses to embrace sustainable practice in their operations, and at a minimum, sustainability planning is part of maintaining a social licence with clients and customers. Accountants can both start and lead the conversation using this insights series.

Karen McWilliams, CA ANZ Business Reform Leader

Climate charter for professionals

Senior CA ANZ managers are also taking a lead with the Australian Council of Professions’ action to implement the global Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter.

Australian Council of Professions, of which CA ANZ is a member, is facilitating an initiative to assist other professional organisations exploring ways they too can help secure a sustainable future. ACoP members include associations from many fields, such as engineering, medical, business and planning.

The Climate Action Charter entails signatories

  • charting a path to sustainability
  • speaking with a unified voice to and with professional bodies, government and the public; and
  • empowering and inspiring members to drive sustainable growth


CA ANZ is a signatory to the global charter and chair of ACoP’s Australia and New Zealand Forum for Climate Action.

Taking action on climate is a collective challenge, and therefore we must band together in a collective response.  We look forward to working alongside the Charter members, and to share our expertise and knowledge.

Ainslie van Onselen, CA ANZ Chief Executive Officer

ACoP’s Australian/New Zealand ‘Forum for Climate Action’ enables sharing and harnessing of joint expertise and climate-relevant resources to enhance the capabilities of professional organisations to practice sustainability.

ACoP’s leadership in promoting a climate charter among Australia’s professions shows the importance of peak bodies taking the lead on climate action.

CA ANZ is also part of the alliance of peak bodies within Griffith University’s Climate Ready Australia program.

The ClimateWise Associations Rating Tool lists many examples of associations’s action. It includes three further examples by CA ANZ!

Act, read and share

Think what actions your association can take beyond what it’s currently doing. And put your ideas forward for adoption.

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