Sustainability reporting key to profitability and success, says new guide from ACCA

Businesses are facing increasing demands for sustainability information from customers, suppliers, lenders, potential new recruits and regulators. Businesses and professionals are asking for more support and guidance to prepare this information.

Those that interconnect sustainability and financial information are more equipped to make decisions that will lead to long-term success. They will have better access to finance, be better able to attract good quality staff, and will be more attractive to customers. 

They will also more likely to be compliant with the growing number of new sustainable business regulations and reporting requirements in this space.

Businesses and professionals are asking for more support and guidance to prepare this information.

ACCA has today published a new guide entitled ‘Sustainability reporting – the guide to preparation’. It is published ahead of COP28, the UN climate summit starting on 30 November in the UAE, in which ACCA is participating. Driving forward sustainability reporting - and increasing its global adoption - will be among the topics discussed.

Aimed at professional accountants, senior management and talent developers, this guide sets out key steps to help organisations start to prepare for sustainability reporting. It includes an eight-stage reporting cycle and suggestions with examples. It can be adapted to organisations of various sizes. The guide focuses on preparing for sustainability reporting in accordance with the inaugural ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board) Standards, however it is equally relevant to organisations applying other sustainability reporting standards. 

This first-in-a-series guide is complemented by a series of videos, produced in partnership with the ISSB. Intended to help understand and apply the standards, they focus on the first two standards: IFRS S1 and IFRS S2, which were published in June this year.

Report co-author Sharon Machado, head of sustainable business at ACCA said, ‘Achieving quality in sustainability reporting needn’t be a race; what’s important is having the courage to get started, the ability to apply judgement in the context of your organisation, getting others on board, and findings ways to improve.’ 

Report co-author Hsiao Mei Chow, head of corporate reporting insights – sustainability at ACCA, added: ‘There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. We encourage all involved to take time to work through the suggested processes, then design processes appropriate to their organisation and implement them.’

Report co-author Aaron Saw, head of corporate reporting insights – financial at ACCA, commented: ‘Sustainability reporting is likely to cover a range of matters, but the emphasis should be on material information for the intended users. Determining material information about sustainability-related risks and opportunities for reporting requires a three-step approach.’

ACCA director of policy & insights, Mike Suffield said: ‘Sustainability reporting requirements extend to explaining the approach and progress made on sustainability-led strategies – for many professional accountants this is a big change. On the other hand, this more holistic reporting requirement supports achieving benefits over the short-, medium-, and longer-term.’ 

This free guide can be accessed here

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About ACCA

We are ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), a globally recognised professional accountancy body providing qualifications and advancing standards in accountancy worldwide.   

Founded in 1904 to widen access to the accountancy profession, we’ve long championed inclusion and today proudly support a diverse community of over 247,000 members and 526,000 future members in 181 countries.    

Our forward-looking qualifications, continuous learning and insights are respected and valued by employers in every sector. They equip individuals with the business and finance expertise and ethical judgment to create, protect, and report the sustainable value delivered by organisations and economies.  

Guided by our purpose and values, our vision is to develop the accountancy profession the world needs. Partnering with policymakers, standard setters, the donor community, educators and other accountancy bodies, we’re strengthening and building a profession that drives a sustainable future for all.  

Find out more at: www.accaglobal.com 

"Achieving quality in sustainability reporting needn’t be a race; what’s important is having the courage to get started, the ability to apply judgement in the context of your organisation, getting others on board, and findings ways to improve."

Sharon Machado, head of sustainable business - ACCA