The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it the stark realisation of the importance of Air, Water and Food – the fundamental requirements for life to exist on this Earth. Emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is not only causing climate change, but also air pollution. Water costs are also related to the issues of climate change. It is clear that many industries depend on water in the supply chain for their workforce and production and to maintain a healthy operating environment. Should the water price be reflective of its value or is water a basic human right? The seminar also addresses the escalating cost of ‘food’, i.e. how big business has taken ownership of the genetically modified (GM) ‘seeds’ required to grow the food; and how these technology costs are passed on to consumers resulting in significant price increases. All these impacts on life, and resultant policy decisions should be backed by reliable cost calculations, and price demand forecasts – clearly an area for management accounting involvement. This seminar argues that management accountants need to undertake calculations that favour humanity, rather than profits.
Professor Janek Ratnatunga is CEO of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. He has held appointments at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Australian National University in Australia; and the Universities of Washington, Richmond and Rhode Island in the USA. Prior to his academic career he worked with KPMG.