Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Prince's plea on 'climate crunch'

Prince Charles
Prince Charles said sustainability should be in companies' DNA

The "climate crunch" should be tackled with the same urgency as the credit crunch, the Prince of Wales has said.

Prince Charles told a business forum greater international co-operation was needed to address a "more alarming and fundamental" environmental crisis.

But he said he was not claiming the topic was more important or that the focus should be on one over the other.

He said new industries and millions of new jobs could go hand-in-hand with an "ecologically durable economy".

"Just as the world is hopefully coming together to tackle the credit crunch, so we need to work together even more powerfully, and with the same sense of urgency, to tackle climate change," he said.

'Calamitous crunch'

The principal factors which caused the credit crunch - over-consumption and indebtedness, over-confidence in market and regulatory systems and short-termism - also lie at the heart of the climate crunch, he added.

He said there was a "growing chorus" of voices calling for both issues to be dealt with at the same time.

The climate change agenda will not pass, this is something that is with us for the rest of time
Stephen Green
HSBC chairman

Prince Charles also called for better information and a more comprehensive approach to measuring the harm done to the environment.

The heir to the throne made his comments during a conference at St James's Palace for his Accounting for Sustainability Forum, which he set up in 2006.

The environmental organisation is made up of more than 200 representatives from the business, investor, academic, accounting and public sectors.

Charles said it aimed to embed sustainability in the DNA of organisations via accountants.

He highlighted the importance of companies using "sustainability accounting" to prevent a "more painful, calamitous and, crucially, irretrievable climate crunch".

Tony Hayward, group chief executive of BP, told the forum: "Sustainability is core to our business, it has to be because that underpins our capacity to endure as an organisation.

"The dialogue we have with others helps us to make the right decisions and to continually improve our business. Actions really do speak louder than words."

HSBC chairman Stephen Green added: "The climate change agenda will not pass, this is something that is with us for the rest of time.

"This is something we do have to attend to for the sake not only of our children but for our grandchildren and onwards."

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