Can you afford to be sustainable? Can you afford NOT to be sustainable?
In mid-August, we met with Jennifer Clark of CSRA. She has been curating a series of podcasts that explores issues of social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy. The series is called Doing Good is Good for Business.
CSRA is a UK based organisation with global reach. It provides online and face-to-face training and independently verified CSR accreditation around the four pillars of CSR: Environment, Workplace, Community and Philanthropy. It also offers consultation and Social Impact Report writing. CSRA is running this series of podcasts to support its partners and members and to increase awareness of how to be more socially responsible.
Dr Peter Ellington and Fran Ellington from TBLA were joined by Hannah Wooller. At the time of recording, Hannah had been MD of Hudson Architects for over 5 years. She has since set up Matter of Place Architects CIC. She discusses how Hudson Architects have benefitted from having a sustainable accountancy firm such as TBLA. You can hear Hannah in the last 6 minutes of the podcast.
Jennifer starts by asking Peter to talk about his recent doctoral research and teaching experience; how this has informed his ideas on why accounting education needs to change to meet the needs of a more environmentally and socially sustainable future.
Peter then suggests that businesses need to ask the right questions of their accountants. He challenges business owners and managers to question whether their finances align with their sustainable vision, objectives and targets. He describes how traditional accountants tend only to look backwards. He offers advice on how to engage your accountant to have a more forward-looking role.
Fran continues by discussing:
- The cost and benefits of becoming a more sustainable business, citing some practical examples.
- The legislation affecting businesses either directly or indirectly through the supply chain? For example – The Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the Green Claims Code.
- Green finance and grants to help businesses become more sustainable.
- How SMEs can voluntarily report on the ‘non-financial’ elements of a business strategy (e.g. natural capital, climate and biodiversity impact, social impact and good governance).
- The long-term benefits of becoming sustainable.
In the last section, Hannah Wooller shares some examples of the positive impact for Hudson Architects, having engaged the services of TBLA for over two years.
Fran joined TBLA in 2019 after a long career in teaching. Her roles include human resources management, ESG and Marketing. During 2020 and 2021 she developed the TBLA Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impact service. As part of the process, she has carried out an impact analysis of the TBLA social and governance profile and a whole company carbon calculation with accompanying target setting, carbon reduction action plan and impact narrative. Fran is now working alongside the growing ESG team to help more SMEs plan for Net Zero around the UK. Fran is also on the board of the Norwich Business Climate Leaders hoping to accelerate the transition to Net Zero.