Aaron Nach Finds the Bonds between Accounting and Climate Justice

Dec. 17, 2020
Aaron Nach headshot

What is your major/year? 
I am a senior majoring in Accounting graduating in December. 

What are you involved in on campus or in Tucson? 
On campus I am involved in the Green Fund, UAZDivest, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, Tamid Group, and Sigma Phi Epsilon.

What sustainability issues are you most passionate about? 
I am very interested in the relationship between environmental and economic sustainability and its effects on financial markets. At the moment, there is a huge trend in sustainable investment and finance. Trillions of dollars are pouring into an emerging asset class called ESG Funds (Environmental, Social, and Governance), which promote companies that have strong non-financial performance by acting as "good" for the environment and our communities. I think this is a necessary step in combating the climate crisis, but it will not come close to being enough. 

What was the first thing that sparked your interest in helping with campus sustainability? 
I had always known about the serious implications of climate change growing up, but I started to take a more active role on campus after taking “Intro to Global Change” my first semester in college. While taking the class, I decided to create a Sustainability Chair in my social fraternity, where I implemented a recycling program and held education sessions on environmental sustainability. This opportunity led me to other campus groups, such as the Green Fund, where I could expand my reach from my fraternity to the entire UArizona campus. 

How does your major shape your outlook on sustainability? 
You'd be surprised how sustainability and accounting are related! As I mentioned previously, sustainability is becoming a hot topic in finance. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell what measurable change will come out of these investments, which is where accounting will play a decisive role. Accounting allows financial markets to function properly by verifying that financial statements are accurate, and there is an emerging component related to non-financial reporting that quantifies and provides consistent measures of how companies are performing relating to their industry's specific ESG standards. Gathering this data will hold companies accountable to their ESG goals related to carbon emissions, employee/management diversity, wage fairness, and other initiatives related to sustainability. 

What advice would you give current and future UA students that want to get involved with environmental issues/activism? 
I strongly suggest pitching your ideas and starting initiatives in areas on campus that are sometimes considered afterthoughts. I pitched the Sustainability Chair idea to my fraternity because I knew there was an opportunity for students to get exposure to a new topic. Communities like Greek Life haven't been engaged in sustainability efforts on campus as much as they should; however, that doesn't mean students won't participate or become interested in environmental issues once it's brought to them!