Case Study 11.1 Turning the Heat On
After being trained by former US vice-president Al Gore, Mike Sewell FCPA is convinced that the weight of scientific evidence behind climate change and the global effects we’re seeing today should be enough to push businesses and individuals to take action. Sewell is the general manager and company secretary for the Nossal Institute for Global Health, which is actively involved in research, education and inclusive development health practices in developing countries. In July this year, he underwent an intensive climate change course, along with a group of other volunteers under the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Climate Project. The training was led by Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, whose Oscar award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth helped bring mass international attention to climate change…
His interest in climate change grew earlier this year when he read an article in the medical journal The Lancet drawing the link between the developing world where his work is focused, and the magnified effects of climate change in these areas. He says that it’s only in understanding the massive impact of climate change that organisations and individuals will start to take action.
‘Climate change affects all of us but it affects developing countries more,’ says Sewell. He notes that a lack of resources and already poor infrastructure amplifies the devastation caused by climate change.
In acknowledging these global incidences Sewell puts aside the debate over whether the scientific arguments of global warming are valid. It’s a separate argument he says. ‘We have to acknowledge that things are happening to the world and that we need to change things if we want to protect the next generation.’
‘I’d say the majority of small businesses haven’t addressed the issues because they don’t acknowledge the problems and they aren’t aware of the effects,’ Sewell says. The effects, however, are becoming more tangible for organisations around the globe, as their carbon footprints begin to appear on their balance sheets with the introduction of carbon emissions trading schemes.
‘It’s important for CPAs to understand what the carbon emissions trading scheme is about, and what drives it. What we as accountants need to do is to understand the fundamentals that are driving the scheme and make sure that the desired result comes through. These are exciting times for us because as accountants we can drive significant global change,’ says
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Sewell, who’s president of CPA Australia’s Victoria division. ‘There’s no doubt that it will increase costs,’ he notes. ‘But we were always going to pay a price for carbon reduction. In the short term we’ll pay a price for carbon reduction. In the short term we’ll pay a price, but in the long term we’ll learn to develop a model that’s more sustainable…’
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1. Outline how climate change is likely to affect Sewell's business operations in developing countries.
Climate change is a change in global climate which has an increasing level of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. It is one of the major challenges which contribute stress to our society and environment. As the amount of carbon dioxide increase, it affects the business operations globally but has a greater impact on developing countries as they are not prepared to deal with the consequences due to the limited resources which could have allowed them to adapt socially, technologically and financially to rise up to the challenge. Therefore, it is necessary to create awareness and to promote the importance of immediate actions against negative impact in developing countries caused by climate change. Hence the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) implemented a framework known as the Kyoto Protocol. It is an agreement for committed parties to take action to reduce the impacts on climate change and to help achieve the carbon emissions...
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