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Thomas Westcott Partner Ian Huggett joined a global panel to speak about some of the steps the firm is taking to reduce our carbon footprint and have a positive social and environmental impact. Ian was invited to present at the PrimeGlobal Environment and Social Responsibility Panel, which focused on how the accountancy sector is supporting the environmental sustainability agenda.  

Held on 22 April, to coincide with Earth Day, the online event attracted more than 80 accountants from across the world. It focused on the challenges and opportunities facing accountancy firms as the business community works towards zero carbon. 

Alongside speakers from the US and Australia, Ian discussed how Thomas Westcott is adapting to meet its environmental and social responsibilities. He also spoke about how the accountancy sector is supporting the wider business community to respond to environmental challenges and opportunities.

Based in North Devon, Ian Huggett is a Partner with an interest in business sustainability and is also our Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. 

Ian said: “Achieving net carbon zero is a reality that we are all facing, and, although it’s an ambitious target, it’s something that businesses should be taking focus on. Accountants have an important role to play in helping businesses towards zero carbon, as well as taking steps within our own firms. 

“At this event, I wanted to get across the message that environmental sustainability needs to be driven from the very top of the business and embedded in the organisation’s culture. To address it properly in any business, you need a systematic approach. That means understanding where you are now and having a plan for how you will progress. 

“The reality is that most businesses can’t make big changes in one go. It’s good to focus on small steps, which can make a real difference. It’s a continuous process and we all need to keep adapting the way we run our businesses.

“The PrimeGlobal panel came at an important moment. While it has been a challenging time for most businesses, the pandemic has demonstrated that we can work differently and it has given us the opportunity to rethink how we do things. Environmental considerations should be a key part of any changes businesses make as we look to the future.

“Many of the adaptations businesses are making to reduce their environmental impact also have efficiency and cost-saving benefits. However, that should not be the main driver. We all need to work towards becoming carbon neutral because it is the right thing to do for the planet.”

Thomas Westcott is a member of PrimeGlobal, one of the world’s top five associations of independent accounting firms. Comprised of around 300 independent public accounting firms across 80 countries, PrimeGlobal provides its members with a wide range of tools and resources. PrimeGlobal was named 2020 Sustainable Organization of the year by the International Accounting Bulletin.