ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
ACCA believes there is a positive and vital role for accountants to play in ensuring that ESGs provide meaningful information to stakeholders, with the aim of encouraging a more holistic approach to risk management by reporting companies
—Martin Turner, vice president, ACCA

ACCA’s Vice President speaks at Sustainable Stock Exchanges Event in Rio about the regulatory dimension of ESG disclosures

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'The distinct and credible reporting of ESGs – environmental, social and governance disclosures – have an important part to play in encouraging a positive approach to sustainable development by business and the adoption of long-term and socially responsible investment strategies by investors' said Martin Turner, ACCA’s Vice President, in his opening statement at the Sustainable Stock Exchanges 2012 Global Dialogue Summit in Rio on 18 June. 

Martin Turner’s comments were aired at a session which ACCA had co-sponsored with Aviva Investors, organised ahead of the full Earth Summit or the Rio+20 conference, which starts on 20 June. ACCA is focussing its hopes on a positive outcome regarding paragraph 41 in the ‘zero draft’ about the integration of sustainability information into the corporate reports of listed and large private companies.

While pointing out the need for consistency in ESG reporting, Mr Turner also said that sustainability reporting needs global buy-in, adding: 'We have to move forward on the basis that we aim to achieve a reporting framework which provides meaningful information to users everywhere and is also flexible enough to accommodate substantial differences in cultural and legal practices which may exist in different countries.

'To get to the point where we have a framework that all countries can sign up to, we therefore need to ensure that we engage actively with regulators and investors – to ensure that we require the sort of disclosures that will make a difference to them – and also involve as broad a geographic spread of stakeholders as we can manage in the process of developing standards. 

'ACCA believes there is a positive and vital role for accountants to play in ensuring that ESGs provide meaningful information to stakeholders, with the aim of encouraging a more holistic approach to risk management by reporting companies.' 

Along with Martin Turner, representatives from Aviva Investors, the Istanbul Stock Exchange, CERES and Banco de Brasil DTVM were on the panel, with James Gifford, executive director of Principles for Responsible Investment as the moderator.

ACCA recently published a paper which looks at the possible changes to the ‘zero draft’. The paper also includes a series of expert views on this issue from our Global Forum for Sustainability members and other voices from the accountancy profession. The Forum was established in 2011 to bring together leading thinking on sustainability and the role of accountants.

Martin Turner concluded: 'Accountants can play a major part in ensuring ESGs are worthwhile and meaningful to stakeholders so they can see exactly how beneficial this information is. But what is clear for ACCA is that a framework needs to be put into place to make this happen, which will help businesses to flourish wherever they are based.'

- Ends -

For more information, please contact:

Alana Sinnen, ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5807
+44 (0) 7715 812120
alana.sinnen@accaglobal.com 

Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5759
+44 (0)7725 498654
helen.thompson@accaglobal.com 

Notes to Editors

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. 
  4. The SSE event took place as part of the Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum and was co-organised by Global Compact, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Division on Investment and Enterprise, Principles for Responsible Investment (the PRI) and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI).