Sustainability – an accountant’s brief thoughts

English: Reed Pond, University of Exeter Small...

Sustainability is a huge issue for us all, not just for accountants. It is not my specific area of expertise, so over the next few weeks Dr Stephen Jollands, University of Exeter, will be writing a few guest posts on my blog.  He will give you much more on sustainability actually means, but let me tell you what inspired me to ask Dr Jollands to write some stuff.

I was travelling back to Ireland on an Aer Lingus flight recently. It was an early flight, so I ordered a breakfast, some muffins and drinks for my kids and a tea and cake for my wife. So we started to eat. As I was eating my breakfast I realised I had a portion or marmalade I did not want to eat just then, and portions of salt/pepper I did not use, and some plastic cutlery and some milk. So I thought why not bring some of it home and use it for lunch – which I duly did. Then I started to think about how many similar items would be simply waste on the flight. And, thinking further, the effort (and cost) that goes into produced all these portions is simply wasted too.  This, I thought is completely daft, and here it come, not sustainable. All sorts of questions came into my mind – why do we waste so much, why do the flight attendants not ask if you want certain portions, how much money is wasted in this one flight, what natural resources are wasted etc.

This simple everyday experience of mine shows the kind of issues that might be part of the broader sustainability field. I’ll leave it up to Dr Jollands to give you some more insights over the coming weeks.




About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

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