How to help your clients become carbon neutral through advisory

Cooper WechkinFounder & CEO, RyeStrategy

Consumers are increasingly seeking out service providers that operate responsibly towards our climate.

Today, over 80% of consumers expect businesses to be actively involved in combating climate change, and nearly 50% will shift their purchasing to more environmentally-focused companies. In fact, 87% of surveyed consumers in the US support mandatory climate disclosures for businesses, with carbon emissions the core focus.

Modern consumers not only appreciate environmentally-oriented business, they expect it, leading other connected stakeholders, such as investors and supply chain partners, to demand action.

In addition to anticipating environmental commitment from your firm, clients will likely start to seek out assistance in the carbon accounting space in order to meet stakeholder demands. This article will supply you with the background and tools to start helping clients go carbon neutral, and ultimately grow your business.

The vital importance of accountants

First and foremost, it is important to understand the role that accountants play in the ever-evolving corporate sustainability landscape for their customers.

The accounting community plays a vital role in helping to tackle climate change, but many accountants are unsure where to start.
Jessica Fries, Accounting for Sustainability

Accountants are vital to tackling climate change, and for a number of reasons. 

1. Accountants are already familiar with the data

In the context of greenhouse gas emissions, which have become a focal point for corporate sustainability in recent years, the indisputable Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol calls for the reporting of upstream emissions from a variety of categories, including purchased goods and services, as well as capital assets. 

To calculate emissions from these two areas, which frequently make up the majority of an organization’s footprint, accountants collect and present comprehensive P&L and capital asset purchase data from their clients, which is then paired to relevant multipliers and used to calculate emissions. 

2. Accountants already speak the language

The role that accountants play when it comes to organizational emissions goes further than P&Ls and capital assets. Accountants already speak the ‘language of business’ and are well-equipped to contribute to, and often lead these processes due to their unique position to formulate plans for collecting and reporting data that can “reach into every corner of a company’s operations”. 

At organizations of all sizes and industries, involvement and leadership from accounting departments, whether in-house or outsourced, is necessary when it comes to corporate sustainability. Simply put, without accountants, effective environmental initiatives cannot happen

3. The trusted advisor

Perhaps most important of all is the position that accounting firms fill for business clients: trusted advisors who facilitate legal compliance and business growth. 

As legal mandates for corporate carbon accounting have rolled out for publicly traded companies, there are immediate benefits to be gained for organizations of all sizes who pursue processes such as carbon neutrality now.

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

When done properly, carbon neutrality offers the opportunity to improve revenues and stakeholder relationships, cut costs, and most importantly, drive environmental action. 

As a trusted advisor, your firm is uniquely positioned to help facilitate the change necessary for a better today and tomorrow, bolstering bottom lines and creating a sustainable future for all. 

How to offer carbon neutrality advisory with RyeStrategy

The case for carbon accounting and ultimately, carbon neutrality, is clear. So how can your firm start helping clients?

A purpose-built template

In a collaborative effort, Karbon and RyeStrategy have built a comprehensive template, Carbon Neutrality Advisory, designed to help you guide your clients on the carbon neutrality process.

Using your template with the RyeStrategy team

To help your clients become carbon neutral, you can utilize this template, as well as the services of carbon emission reduction specialists, like the RyeStrategy team. In doing so, you can understand and implement:

  • Annual carbon footprint statements (reported in the Scope 1, 2, and 3 format, per the Greenhouse Gas Protocol)

  • Customized offset portfolios to directly balance calculated footprints through certified investments in carbon-reducing projects, such as reforestation initiatives and renewable energy infrastructure development

  • Tailored mitigation strategies to lower operational emissions, matched to each client's top 10 most emitting carbon footprint categories

  • Marketing campaigns and consulting to optimally communicate your clients' environmental achievements to key stakeholders

While this template is focused on software and professional services organizations, RyeStrategy strives to help businesses of all industries to impactfully strengthen and communicate their environmental performance.

For alternative industry requests, or specific sub-services, such as standalone carbon accounting, 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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