A new breed of activist bean counters

“Corporate social responsibility is a hard-edged business decision. Not because it is a nice thing to do or because people are forcing us to do it… because it is good for our business”
Niall Fitzerald, Former CEO, Unilever

Back in the 1960s the average person had an image of the person most likely to start an environmental and social revolution. It was the activist hippy wearing a tie-dye T-shirt. Fast forward to the 1980s. Here we have young professionals who, embracing the Thatcherite dream, were too busy making money to champion causes. Now we have a new generation of accountants.

According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, there are now more than $22trn of funds managed under an environmental, social and governance or corporate social responsibility mandate. Sustainable accounting is still a relatively young process, plagued by some logistical problems. Not all accountants and asset managers welcome the idea of going green. Never mind pushing for social change.

Nonetheless, don’t dismiss this new breed of activist bean counters. We’re entering an era when it comes to the green revolution, spreadsheets make more difference than political placards.

Photo by Dan Stark on Unsplash



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Robert Thompson

Big ideas and important articles. Writing to help you make sense of the world. And cope with being human.