Rethinking sustainable business

ACCA’s chief executive Helen Brand and president Mark Millar recently announced our new global campaign

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Our report Rethinking risk for the future highlights how, while Covid-19 is the biggest crisis in a generation, the biggest risk of all for business and society comes from rapid climate change.

Over recent years, society’s values have moved faster as we all look to create a more ethical and fairer world. Trust is central to this change. Business leaders have a vital role in minimising environmental damage and putting social responsibility at the centre of their strategies.

That’s why we’ve recently launched our Rethinking sustainable business campaign. As the world prepares for the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, we’ll be highlighting the vital role of professional accountants in accelerating positive change in these risky and uncertain times.

We need sustainable businesses that deliver financial returns while generating positive value for society and being environmentally responsible for the planet. From confronting climate change to improving inclusion and equality in the workplace, the accountancy profession is a key force for good in global efforts to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to which we made our own commitments last year.

Accountants are the guardians of information, integrity and ethics. They’re at the heart of decision-making and strategy, developing credible and resilient businesses that drive long-term and meaningful value.

The profession is also essential in developing and applying fast-evolving accountancy and business disciplines such as integrated reporting and integrated thinking, and driving forward reporting and auditing standards on sustainability and value. We’re playing a full role in this work, representing the views and ideas of our members and using our influence to bring about effective change.

This year is all about rethinking our approaches – all organisations large and small are having to do this. But it’s not just about thinking – action is needed too. Our campaign sets out five calls to action for our whole connected community to create a more sustainable world:

  1. Improve your sustainability skills: Commit to developing your understanding of the sustainable business landscape and integrated thinking. Continue upskilling by completing CPD, engaging with our research and policy initiatives, and visiting our Rethinking sustainable business hub.
  2. Include sustainability in decision making: Act for your organisation to be society- and Earth-positive. Use integrated thinking, understand your dependencies and take steps to reduce your negative impact.
  3. Holistically report on sustainability: Encourage your organisation to report on all your environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts. Drive forward integrated reporting and integrated thinking.
  4. Join the Big Conversation: Organise a Big Conversation event in your organisation, business, at a school or university. Become a sustainable business champion with ACCA.
  5. Change your world: Take small steps at home or at work towards a more sustainable world. Collectively we can make a big impact.

Over the next few months, look out for our sustainability themed events, new professional insights, new sustainability CPD launches, a special edition of AB and our annual online event Accounting for the Future in late November. We’ll also be sharing examples of members across the world playing a role in driving positive change.

A wide range of resources including events, research, CPD and case studies will be available on our Rethinking sustainable business hub, and we would recommend anyone to have a look at these sustainability resources that will help finance professionals rethink, and change, the future for the better.

For more information, please see our Rethinking sustainable business hub and visit our Technical resources section for reports on sustainability and and guides on sustainability.