Could accountants help save the world? Credit: simpleillustrations / Flickr Creative Commons
There’s perhaps no job more mundane in our imaginations than accountant. Even if it’s what your mom thinks of as a good, solid career.
But how many kids – who tend to imagine themselves as future Tom Bradys or Beyonces – harbor dreams of working for ?
Funny thing, though: Accountants may be poised to change the world.
Modern business and governments have evolved to use one particular kind of bookkeeping. In today's world, though, accountants might start taking other factors into, well, account.
, author of author of Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet?, points to externalities as the major costs not currently included in the bottom line.
A Big Mac, for example, would actually be $200 if all the costs were included in the price tag, according to a .
How is that possible?
"The cost of that should be factored into a Big Mac, not just the cost of the tomatoes and the meat that is bought," says Gleeson-White. "The real cost of producing that meat is environmental destruction and various social costs."
But economists have suggested a new way of bookkeeping for companies and governments – one that would account for all of these external costs as well. Some entities have already gotten on board – from France to the sporting goods company Puma.
"Puma published the first in 2012 ever in the world. What it attempted to do was to take account for the carbon it uses, the water it pollutes, right down the supply chain – right down to the rubber trees that are grown in Asia that are used in their sporting shoes," explains Gleeson-White.
At the moment they're using that information to appeal to customers, but costs to the environment may soon start affecting price tags everywhere.