Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive of the Green Finance Institute, has inspired Welsh accountants at ACCA Cymru Wales’ St David’s Day Breakfast, with her thoughts on how green finance can play its part in meeting net zero targets.

The annual event, which brings together ACCA members and partners from government and the wider business community, was held online for the second time this year, attracting participation from across Wales and beyond.

Dr Thomas highlighted how SMEs account for 50% of emissions and how vital it is that the SME sector engages with the sustainability agenda, maximising on financial levers now available to the public and private sectors.

Welsh Government has taken further action to address climate change such as community tree planting, wind farms and more infrastructure for electric cars with the aim to be a carbon neutral public sector by 2030.

According to Dr Thomas, accountants have a pivotal role to play in engaging with businesses to transform business models and Lloyd Powell, Head of ACCA Cymru Wales, supported this with his call to UK and Welsh Governments to work collaboratively alongside all agencies to deliver on Net Zero, as highlighted in last year’s ACCA, Sage and ICC report.

The report aligns with recent Careers Wales findings that over 60,000 new green jobs could be created within the Welsh economy this year.

The Welsh national careers advice service’s ‘Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the labour market in Wales’ report demonstrates how a two-year recovery towards a greener economy will lead to a growing eco-industry and, ultimately, to greater employment opportunities in Wales. This relies on government investment in key projects.

Lloyd Powell called on UK and Welsh Governments to ‘think small first’ within their tax policies by streamlining, simplifying and automating the climate-related financial reporting process, to avoid an unnecessary burden on small businesses.

John Cullen, ACCA Global Council member and Partner at Menzies LLP, which sponsored the event, along with University of South Wales; spoke of the need for understanding green finance and the role that finance professionals can play in helping organisations create, protect and report sustainable value –  and to champion responsible practices in the public interest.

Only Men Aloud choir performed a rousing version of the Welsh national anthem for the online event, which raised funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

A recording of the event can be accessed here: https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/3604501/05DA040F0C084C336DA75C3BEF56B341

For further details on upskilling and learning more about green finance, see ACCA Rethinking Sustainable Business Hub https://lnkd.in/ebszqewE