The swift progress currently being made implementing sustainability reporting across the world brings with it associated risks for matters of ethics and independence to which all those involved – accountants and non-accountants, need to be alert. Poor-quality reporting, including ‘greenwashing’, a lack of trust in published information and consequent faulty decision making could be the result. 

Ethics for a better world: Ethics and sustainability

Sharon Machado, head of sustainable business at ACCA, and Professor Lisa Weaver of Warwick Business School discuss ethics and sustainability


This report identifies the risks around ethics and independence associated with sustainability reporting. Accountants and other professionals involved in implementing sustainability reporting regularly face ethical dilemmas. This guide provides real-world scenarios to equip them to manage dilemmas often presented by:

• Risks of greenwashing

• Weakness in processes and systems

• Lacking technical knowledge

• Compromises in objectivity and independence. 

Further practical support is provided through a checklist of questions to drive better application of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants Code principles, including professional scepticism and curiosity. The guide aims to help users avoid consequences such as poor-quality reporting, including ‘greenwashing’, a loss of trust and faulty decision-making.