The business case for offering carbon neutrality advisory at your accounting firm

Cooper WechkinFounder & CEO, RyeStrategy

If you’re considering adding carbon neutrality services to your accounting firm’s offering, you need to understand the business case for it.

Is it something clients want? Are they even aware of their social responsibility and current impacts? Is it worth your while?

Simply, the benefits of your own firm becoming carbon neutral hold true for your clients as well.

Going carbon neutral gave our brand distinction in the marketplace. It helped us win deals and retain clients.
Jessica Day, Co-Founder & CMO of IdeaScale, and 3x RyeStrategy client

Here are some tips for better-understanding why your clients should consider pursuing such a process, and several key resources for marketing, selling, servicing, and supporting your clients with carbon neutrality advisory.

The benefits of offering carbon neutrality advisory services for your clients

Qualitatively, becoming carbon neutral can give your clients an edge through differentiation in their respective markets, simultaneously bringing social leadership to their organization and employees. 

Clients will also engage with their stakeholders by managing the risks and costs associated with carbon emissions.

According to one survey, companies that achieved high scores on climate change management generated an 18% higher return on equity compared to lower-scoring peers, along with 50% lower volatility in earnings. These outcomes are due to a number of sustainable business benefits, ranging from better value signaling to cost savings

People want purpose

Making up the largest portion of the workforce, the sustainably-minded millennial segment is worth $1 trillion in consumer spending, and they're looking to find purpose and impact in their work as well. 

Not only do modern consumers appreciate and expect environmentally-oriented businesses, young talent is increasingly chasing organizations that act sustainably in their everyday operations. 

Consumers reward responsible businesses

Given growing consumer interest in environmental sustainability, businesses stand to come out ahead when deliberately driving toward carbon neutrality. By adhering to corporate sustainability programs, companies embody a new wave of growth strategy that aims to maintain the best environmental, social, and governance standards that are quickly capturing consumers’ interests

Consumers are voting with their dollars, and studies show that they are increasingly avoiding unsustainable businesses, in favor of spending their money with those that demonstrate a real interest in environmental action. 

Not only does sustainability signal economic value to consumers and employees, other stakeholders, such as investors, areincreasingly demanding that organizations take environmental protection seriously, with 87% of Americans overall now supporting mandatory climate disclosures for businesses. 

Organizations that pursue carbon neutrality stand to gain. At RyeStrategy, our clients have reported that carbon neutrality not only allowed them to positively impact the environment, but also improved their core brand image, helping to regularly win deals and keep customers, ultimately driving annual returns on investment as high as 368%*.

*This percentage was derived by first summing all revenues earned from customers who directly attributed their purchase decision due to a company being carbon neutral, then dividing this total revenue figure by the summed cost of carbon neutrality, factoring in both services fees and offset purchases.

Because it’s the right thing to do

Most importantly, however, are the direly-needed benefits of carbon neutrality for our shared environment. 

In a report recently released by the IPCC, around 40% of the world's population is reported to be “highly vulnerable” to the impacts of climate change, with the next eight years our last opportunity for meaningful action

At a broad level, human-emitted carbon dioxide must at least reach net zero (the ‘at least’ implying the need for the reduction and offset of significantly more metric tons of carbon than are emitted each year), while similar limitations to other greenhouse gas emissions, such as CH4, or methane, are equally important. 

Should humanity achieve a zero carbon or near-zero carbon future before it’s too late, it is expected that discernible changes in temperature patterns and other climate change effects will occur within 20 years. 

If we do not achieve this goal, however, the damage may be irreparable, and without an effort to make considerable investments in carbon neutrality, the continuous rise in emissions will directly threatenthe wellbeing of all businesses and industries. 

While the majority of emissions currently created by humanity can be assigned to the world's largest corporations and the governments who support their activities, we all have a vital role to play. 

It is up to us as individual people and organizations to not only call for action, but to set the standard for climate conscious behavior by mitigating and offsetting our footprints, leaving those who emit the most no choice other than to make the difference necessary for our very future.

Key resources

While the window of opportunity is quickly closing, it’s not too late to take action. 

RyeStrategy have partnered with Karbon to create the Carbon Neutrality Advisory template, available to download for free from the Karbon Template Library.

With this, your firm can easily and effectively partner with RyeStrategy to offer clients comprehensive carbon neutrality services. 

We recommend reading How to help your clients become carbon neutral through advisory for more information, and utilizing the following resources to help you market, sell, service and support clients:

The carbon neutrality movement is only just beginning, and it needs motivated firms such as yours at the forefront. For further materials, marketing assistance, or any other requests, please don't hesitate to contact the RyeStrategy team.

Cooper Wechkin
Founder & CEO, RyeStrategy

Cooper founded RyeStrategy, a Seattle-based sustainability software and services organization focused on helping small-to-medium sized businesses improve their environmental impacts through carbon neutral and net-zero solutions. Outside of work, Cooper enjoys spending time with friends and family, as well as hiking—in 2019, he backpacked 270 miles across England and Scotland.

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