At the recent Sumday offsite we were joined by Forico CFO, Rayne van den Berg, and Wedgetail’s Lisa Miller to talk at length about the important role of accountants, insights into sustainable investing and getting biodiversity onto the balance sheets.
It was such a powerful and insightful discussion that we wanted to share it more broadly. So, we had a follow up chat with Rayne to chat carbon accounting, natural capital and why she’s proud to call Tasmania home.
Sumday: Where’s your head at when it comes to Carbon Accounting?
Rayne van den Berg: I think carbon accounting is the gateway drug. Everyone should at least know what their carbon profile is so they can have informed conversations and make better decisions. That hopefully sets them up to answer broader sustainability-based questions, whether that’s about nature impact or deforestation or social issues or human rights. We’re going to have to start measuring the non-financial metrics - things that really matter - and we’ll need to make credible disclosures around that to our stakeholders
As a CFO it’s my job to tell the story of value preservation and creation. Traditionally that’s only been focused on the financial impact, but it has to be more than that. To communicate the story of truly sustainable value better, we have to be measuring a whole lot of things, not just profit.
Carbon accounting is going to be the first simple metric to try and change our pathway over the next 5 years. If we’re going to be able to manage it, we’re going to have to measure it. So it's a non-negotiable.
Sumday: Where do you see the future of Natural Capital Accounting?
It’s a passion of mine. All capitals (not just natural) give you a sense of true value and measuring what matters. What really resonates with me is the idea of the six capitals including natural capital. It’s about measuring more things than we have done traditionally, and balancing things up and keeping within our planetary boundaries. It’s about understanding what the tradeoffs are and the story as a whole. It’s been called a lot of different things - ESG, balanced scorecard, triple bottom line - whatever you want to call it, it’s about not just focusing on one thing to the detriment of others - it’s about ensuring everything is in sustainable balance.
Natural capital is about making sure that nature at least gets a seat at the table when you’re decision making. Forico is going to follow pretty quickly by measuring social and human capital, so we’ll have a full trifecta in our reporting suite that covers people, planet and prosperity. Because one without the other two is really only part of the value story.
Sumday: And how are you using the learnings from Sumday?
Forico has been measuring our carbon emissions for a couple of years now and there’s a number of reasons we like working with Sumday. We love the passion they have for this space and the opportunity to share the learnings we have around the GHG Protocol and reporting, and how we’re telling our story. There’s a real alignment with Sumday’s values and the desire that you can do something, not just talk about it, that you can provide a solution. I believe in that and I've bought into that. I’m really enjoying seeing the dashboard develop, and as soon as we can make that information accessible and as easy and as effortless as possible, we can make better, more informed decisions. That’s the only way we’re going to really make change with urgency.
Working with Sumday also allows us to support an emerging Tasmanian business, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
My home is Tassie now - I wasn’t born here but like many people we choose to be here. We love the lifestyle and the pride that comes with being Tasmanian - the quiet pursuit of extraordinary that’s going on down here. Noone’s really bragging about their innovation, they’re just getting on with it.
Personally it’s a lifestyle choice to be here. That, and we couldn’t handle the heat of mainland Australia. We consciously decided this is where we wanted to live and bring up our family, support the community and to do good. The older you get, the more you realise that a sense of community wellbeing is everything.
It comes back to social metrics for me. It can’t just be about profit. It’s not fair and equitable to do that. You have to take the community with you, otherwise it creates other issues down the track. We need shared prosperity.