How To Save The World With Rigorous Carbon Accounting

Climate change is perhaps the most urgent, existential crisis facing humanity, and, yet, despite twenty years of growing corporate ESG activity, things are looking worse for us as a planet. I will argue that this is partly due to flawed carbon-accounting practices (notably, “Scope 3”), which have even been exploited to derail decarbonisation in some cases. I will also explain how the system can be fixed, with a rigorous, low-cost accounting method that I developed with my colleague Professor Bob Kaplan who earlier co-developed Activity-Based Costing. Our solution, which recently won the Harvard Business Review-McKinsey Prize for “groundbreaking management thinking,” will run on existing accounting and IT platforms and will allow entities to verifiably compete on emissions-reduction excellence.


Karthik Ramanna is Professor of Business & Public Policy at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. An expert on business-government relations, sustainable capitalism, and corporate reporting & auditing, Professor Ramanna studies how organizations and leaders build trust with stakeholders. His scholarship has won numerous awards, including the Journal of Accounting & Economics Best Paper Prize and three times the international Case Centre’s prizes for outstanding case-writing, dubbed by the Financial Times as “the business school Oscars.” Professor Ramanna is director of Oxford’s Master in Public Policy program and of Oxford’s Case Centre for Public Leadership, the latter which he founded. He is also founder and faculty chair of the Transformational Leadership Fellowship, a bespoke, by-invitation program for senior leaders looking to reimagine their public-service impact. A fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford, he was previously a professor at Harvard, after receiving his doctorate from MIT. He lives in Oxford with his husband, Jon, and they enjoy dinner parties and touring Caravaggios.

Wednesday, 02 November 2022

15:00 - 15:45 GMT


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  • Karthik Ramanna
    Professor Karthik Ramanna
    Professor of Business & Public Policy
    Blavatnik School of Government