Thank you, 93 times, for supporting sustainable cost accounting

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Some may recall that last autumn I asked if anyone here who was interested might make a submission to the IFRS on their consultation on whether they might create sustainability accounting standards, to be created through a new created, but quasi-independent, sustainability standards board that they are promoting.

I was opposed to this because the implication of this proposal is that sustainability standards can exist outside the mainstream of accounting, which is exactly the time institutional failing that was identified as a key reason for the failure of government to manage issues relating to climate change referred to in an HM Treasury report by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University to which I referred yesterday.

Submission of comment to this consultation was not made easy. Despite that my review of the 576 comments submitted suggests that 93 (at least) were based in the submission that my colleague Professor Adam Leaver of the University of Sheffield and I made early in in the consultation process.

Some of those commenting came directly from those whose names I recognise from this blog.

I appreciated the joint submission from Caroline Lucas MP and Clive Lewis MP (to evidence a nice bit of cross party working).

But I admit most came because Extinction Rebellion adopted the message that we were making.

But what this suggests is that about one in six of the submissions to the IFRS on this issue agreed on a number of key issues.

The first was that sustainability reporting should be integrated into mainstream financial reporting, and not be treated separately as they have suggested.

Second, that this means the cost of becoming net zero carbon should be put, upfront, on the balance sheets of companies, as sustainable cost accounting suggests.

And, third, that the IFRS should not separate these issues by having a separate standards board.

My grateful thanks to all who offered support. The original submission that Adam and I made is here.

The downside is that the IFRS says it is going ahead with its plans. It looks like there will be more to do.