The global accountancy profession has an important role in making organisations more responsible and accountable in the pursuit of sustainable development, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in a new policy paper called Sustainability Matters.
The paper collates ACCA’s thinking on six sustainability-related issues: sustainability reporting; integrated reporting; the assurance of non-financial reporting and disclosure; climate change; natural capital and the green economy.
Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive, comments: 'Accountants are well placed to use their skills and experience and apply these to help achieve a more sustainable future. Their professional skill-set in developing metrics, information systems, reporting and designing economic instruments, among other business attributes, will help make our economy greener, our companies more accountable, and achieve global and national measures that look beyond economic output to factor in non-traditional measures, such as human well-being and natural capital. In addition, the recent experience in developing the international financial reporting standards can be shared to develop global sustainability reporting standards and frameworks.'
Dr Andrea Coulson, Senior Lecturer in Accounting at University of Strathclyde and Chair of ACCA’s Global Forum for Sustainability says: 'As we face the increasing challenges of climate adaptation, social inequality, protecting human rights and a natural balance, the engagement of accountants in addressing these issues is critical. These policies reflect what ACCA sees as being the very real and material issues confronting business and the profession – and ultimately ACCA believe that accountants can and will rise to these challenges.'
The six policy topics have been selected on the basis of ACCA’s sustainability research to date and although for the purposes of the paper have been separated out, it is acknowledged that they are interrelated. As the scope of ACCA’s research broadens over time, it is expected that additional topics will be added to the list. The policies serve as a reference for ACCA’s key stakeholders, as well as a means of summarising the outcomes and conclusions of ACCA’s research activities.