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The Prince of Wales makes a speech at the Accounting for Sustainability Forum

14th December 2012

The Prince of Wales makes a speech at the Accounting for Sustainability Forum

The Prince of Wales makes a speech at the Accounting for Sustainability Forum

The Prince of Wales said today the prospect of his first grandchild being born had increased his concerns about trying to build a better world sustainably.

His Royal Highness has already spoken of his thrill at The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge having a baby, expected to be born next summer.

But during a speech at the annual forum of his Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), he stressed how the impending addition to his family had focused his mind on his campaign to help tackle issues like climate change and food security.

Speaking at St James's Palace, the Prince told delegates: "As many of you will know, the daunting challenge of building a better world that provides for a better life for everyone, all within the environmental constraints of our planet, is one that I have been concerned about for many years.

"And now that my first grandchild is on the way, even more so."

The Prince was addressing a gathering of chief financial officers (CFOs), accounting bodies, NGOs and public and private sector organisations who had been discussing the topic - "the role of the finance and accounting community in future-proofing our economy".

His Royal Highness established A4S in 2004 to develop practical approaches for embedding sustainability into decision-making and reporting for businesses.

His organisation launched a report at the forum - Futureproofed Decision Making - which states there is an urgent need to better communicate to senior decision-makers the business case for considering nature and society.

The Prince joked about how he is perceived by the press telling the delegates: "I am, apparently, as various organisations of the media seem to insist, an interfering busybody. But I suppose this forum shows that being a busybody works."

His Royal Highness went on to highlight his concerns: "To use an accounting term, we are living off the Earth's natural capital rather than the income derived from that capital and, unfortunately, there is no global CFO to keep us in check.

"So, we sit by and watch as the biggest bank of all - in other words, Nature - heads towards catastrophe.

"Over-dependence on fossil fuels, over-fishing, over-stretching the capacity of the soil; rapid and unsustainable population growth; you name it, we're at it. And it's a very dangerous game."

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the Accounting for Sustainability Forum

Published on 13th December 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to welcome many of you back here today, but also to see so many new faces, which I hope shows the growing interest in how we can each play a part in moving towards a more sustainable economy.  Frankly, I cannot stress enough how urgently we need to do this.  I was quoted recently as saying I am desperately impatient.  Well, I am.  We should all be.  We are rapidly running out of time to adopt an approach that reduces our impact on the Earth’s capacity to sustain us all.  I am afraid the damage we are doing is now beginning to bite.  I was struck by a comment at the recent Climate Change conference in Doha.  Someone said that “Climate change was due to arrive tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it’s arrived today.”  Although, the point is, it is not just climate change we have to deal with; it is a multitude of factors – resource scarcity, energy security, food security, unsustainable population growth and globalization.  These pressures all render “business-as-usual” an impossible option.  And yet the needle seems stuck in the paradigm…! 

The topic of today’s discussion is what all of you can do, as the finance and accounting community, to “future-proof” our economy?   I am sure I don’t need to remind you that I am no expert in matters of finance and accounting.  I am, apparently, as various organizations of the Media seem to insist, an interfering busy body!  But I suppose this forum shows that being a busy body works! However, as s ...

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