CA magazine: June 2021
Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, shared some refreshingly pragmatic words in his CEO letter in January: “I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis – such a stark reminder of our fragility – that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives.”
The crisis offers us an opportunity to reassess even the most basic elements of our daily lives. As the world starts to stir again, there’s a small window of time to embed change at the heart of everything we do. The demand is there. The past year has accelerated the call for business to do good for people and planet.
The statistics show just how fast our thinking has evolved. A recent Ipsos survey found 48% of customers are more likely to trust companies with clear sustainability and CSR programmes. From January to November 2020, $288bn (£206bn) was invested globally in sustainable assets, a 96% increase over the entirety of 2019. The people have spoken and business is listening.
ICAS has a role to play. As an organisation, we have a responsibility to ensure we meet high ethical standards, monitoring relationships with staff, members, partners, environment and economy alike. It’s why we report against the UN sustainable development goals in our annual review, the latest edition of which is now online. We want to track progress and be held accountable.
The responsibility continues as a membership and professional qualifications body. We need to ensure CAs, both new and experienced, are equipped to tackle the changing landscape. In particular, we must keep pace with fast-evolving expectations for sustainability and social outreach, enabling members to perform their best and approach change with confidence. Anne Adrain, Head of Sustainability and Assurance, discusses our approach in detail on.
The office bearer team are also a key link between ICAS and members and we welcome those newly elected for 2021/22. We look forward to working on our shared strategic priorities. President Bruce Pritchard CA outlines his thoughts on the year ahead.
In this issue of CA magazine, we explore how sustainability has become critical to modern business, meeting those forging new models and new forms of leadership. We hope their stories serve as inspiration during a time of extraordinary change.