Accounting for and Adapting to Climate Change

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For the finance team at Frontiers North Adventures (FNA), it's not just about QuickBooks and Excel. Working with top sea ice modellers, polar bear experts and scientific researchers is all in a day’s work for the finance team.

FNA is a travel company in Churchill, Manitoba – the polar bear capital of the world. It is one company that is leveraging its accountants to help it adapt in the face of climate change.

Many businesses overlook the role that accountants play in accounting for and adapting to climate change. In some cases, the effects of climate change are perceived to be far off.

But businesses in Canada’s north no longer have this luxury. Warming is occurring twice as fast in the Canadian Arctic as it is in southern Canada. Businesses have deal with the effects of climate change now.

"There is a risk to our business in terms of thinning sea ice," explains Jennifer Ash. Ash is VP Finance & Operations at FNA. As a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), she wants to assess the cost of risk. "If the tidal flats aren't frozen, we can't travel."

Accounting for climate changes will help FNA reduce its risk and dependence on particular products. It will also help employees identify new business opportunities.

"I take that information that the scientific community is developing and I use that in my strategic development," Ash explains. Climate change may mean fewer sea ice excursions, but more tundra hikes.

What’s critical is that it isn’t only companies like FNA that will have to adapt. Loss of permafrost, a critical foundation for buildings, roads, railroads and airstrips, affects the flow of good and services throughout the north. The sooner accountants begin understanding the effects of climate change, the better they will be able to serve their businesses in adapting to it.

This resource is part of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada’s climate change adaptation initiative, which is partly funded by Natural Resources Canada and managed by NBS. 

In the accompanying video, learn how Frontiers North Adventures integrates climate change into their financial accounting. 

Download the full case study (PDF) and check out other videos from CPA Canada’s climate change adaptation initiative

Related Resources

Download the NBS case summary for Frontier's North Adventures, explore the full list of NBS climate change resources, and learn from the following organizations also implementing climate change adaptation: