Earth Day 2023: Andrew Griggs

April 21, 2023

Earth Day is a global event celebrated every year on 22 April to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our planet and taking action against environmental challenges. As we approach Earth Day 2023, it’s important to consider the role that businesses can play in contributing to a more sustainable future.

Andrew Griggs, Senior Partner at Kreston Reeves and head of the Kreston Global ESG Advisory Committee shared his insights on how businesses can incorporate sustainability into their financial reporting and tax compliance, and how they can benefit from investing in sustainable practices.

1. The business world is among the most significant emitters of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. How can businesses incorporate sustainability into their financial reporting and tax compliance? 

“I think there are great opportunities for UK businesses to incorporate sustainability into reporting, simply by looking at what is mandatory now for larger companies (over 500 employees) and following that lead to getting ahead of the curve as it will be mandatory for SMEs soon. From a financial management perspective, all business benefits from knowing their ESG risks and opportunities, and seeing what the impact of their business has on their wider community and stakeholders. And of course, it gives anyone looking closely at that business, be it as an investor, potential recruit or to do business with, a sense of the business culture, values and ethos.”

2. Earth Day 2023 theme is ‘Invest in our planet.’ Businesses can profit significantly from a sustainable transition if they invest early on. How do you think businesses will profit – or benefit?

“As I mentioned above, getting in early is always useful as it can take time to build a comprehensive ESG approach. I know from our own journey as a firm that wanted to have a positive impact on the world and society that the earlier you start the better. We began ours in 2018 and in March this year have achieved B Corporation certification which was one of our goals. The benefits of this inside-out approach have been substantial in terms of increasing staff engagement and morale, improving our financial performance, creating standout in the marketplace, and attracting/retaining clients.”

3. How can tax incentives for sustainable initiatives positively impact a company’s bottom line, and how can businesses take advantage of them with the help of tax and accounting professionals to quantify these benefits in their financial statements?

“Environmental tax incentives in the UK are quite good – there are capital allowances on energy efficient practices (improving heating and energy consumption) and investments in zero carbon technology (ie building infrastructure/electric car/bikes for staff etc). We know that adopting these and other measures such as turning down the heating slightly, going paperless, encouraging recycling and looking at lower water usage and plastic reduction has had a considerable impact in a positive way on our bottom line.”

4. What is the role of accounting networks like Kreston Global in the education and behaviour change that firms and their clients need to take us to net zero by 2050?

“In Kreston we have the opportunity to reach – both across our 165 member firms in 115 countries but in turn to influence and engage their clients and people. This allows us to change behaviours across a large global footprint and create impetus for change by galvanising the whole network. Our network’s impact strategy includes a committee of some of our ESG leaders to help direct and mentor other firms in this area.”

5. Kreston Global recently partnered with Treedom Agroforestry to mitigate the emissions generated by enabling our members to connect face-to-face. What actions have you taken in your firms or your personal life that you can share that will help mitigate or reduce emissions?

“As previously mentioned, as a firm we have committed to becoming a B Corporation so we can live our values of not only becoming net zero but ensuring a long-term commitment to staying net zero – and helping others to do so as well as part of being B corp.“

In conclusion, Andrew’s insights highlight the importance of incorporating sustainability into businesses’ financial reporting and tax compliance, investing in sustainable practices, taking advantage of available tax incentives, and the role of accounting networks in driving education and behaviour change. As we celebrate Earth Day 2023 with the theme of ‘Invest in our planet,’ it’s important to remember that businesses can profit significantly from a sustainable transition if they invest early on.