The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and Barclays were delighted to host a lively discussion on the proposals from the European Commission Action plan and the alignment of business strategies and corporate reporting contribution in meeting the SDGs and sustainable finance objectives.
Residence Palace, 155 rue de la Loi, 1000 Brussels
Converging, interconnected issues, including the changing finance landscape, have brought sustainable finance and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the fore as a unifying global agenda for countries, companies, investors and civil society to pursue (see ACCA report Sustainable Development Goals: redefining Context, Risk, and Opportunities). In 2015, landmark international agreements were established with the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, which includes the commitment to align financial flows with a pathway towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development. The EU has been at the forefront of efforts to build a financial system that supports sustainable growth, and it is gaining further momentum with the publication of the European Commission's Action plan. It includes among others to establish an EU sustainability taxonomy to provide a classification system of climate, environmentally and socially-sustainable activities; to create standards and labels for green financial products; to clarify institutional investors and asset managers' duties regarding ESG issues; to incorporate sustainability in prudential requirements; and to strengthen sustainability disclosure and to improve accounting rule-making.
For countries, the 17 SDGs propose a new model to adhere to in order to deliver prosperity to their citizens and to create an all-encompassing framework that has as its motto to 'leave no one behind'. For business, the SDGs have been referred to as, 'a purchase order from 2030 for business and government action today'. The challenge of meeting the SDGs by 2030 is immense. A critical factor in the SDGs success will be their mainstreaming, so that opportunities can be realized, and that their delivery becomes embedded into business practices through monitoring, and reporting on progress towards them, as well as their widespread understanding, take-up and skills development. A defining challenge for business, the finance industry and the accountancy profession for the coming years.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and Barclays were therefore delighted to host a lively discussion on the proposals from the European Commission Action plan and the alignment of business strategies and corporate reporting contribution in meeting the SDGs and sustainable finance objectives.