Staying abreast of sustainability
The climate crisis is having a dramatic impact on the role of many accountants. Anne Adrain, Head of Sustainability and Assurance, guides CAs through the resources to stay abreast of this fast-changing field.
CAs are a vital part of any organisation. They undertake many different roles across a variety of sectors, ranging from financial institutions and accountancy firms to charities. But they can also be a force for good in wider society – including for the benefit of the environment. With the ever-growing emphasis on sustainability and ESG at government and regulatory level, as well as the increased expectations for organisations to behave responsibly, the role of the CA is changing rapidly. Existential factors such as climate change and social inequality are gradually becoming a mainstay of the work that CAs are expected to undertake.
Sustainability was, in the past, seen as a side issue, a nice-to-have, but now it is making its way into our core strategic decisions. More and more organisations are asking themselves: Are we treating our employees fairly? What are the effects of our business activities on society and the environment?
These discussions are taking place at all levels and, as a result, CAs now find themselves having to consider matters that traditionally have not been considered part of the core disciplines of an accountant. Nevertheless, CAs have a responsibility to maintain their continuing professional development and to stay abreast of new and emerging topics – chief among them sustainability.
Sustainability is relevant to the role of a CA in many ways: from accounting for, and reporting on, climate change and environmental considerations; assessing and managing the risk and opportunities associated with the social inclusion and equality agenda; or providing assurance on an organisation’s sustainability report.
ICAS has created a range of resources and content to assist CAs in maintaining and developing their knowledge in these areas.
Access ICAS professional development resources by visiting icas.com/members/professional-development
Ask ICAS: Company climate change reporting and audit
Hannah Armitage, from the Financial Reporting Lab of the FRC, and Julia Morris, AQR Inspector, FRC, join Anne Adrain to present the findings of its review of climate-related considerations.
ICAS Insights: Risk, resilience and sustainability
As international governments and standard-setters place sustainability at the top of their agenda, our speakers look at the importance of corporate resilience and how companies can embed sustainability within their business strategy, scenario planning and corporate reporting.
Accounting for Covid-19: Sustainability, impact and accounting professionals
Panellists discuss accounting for the pandemic in ways that do not produce inadvertent inequities.
ICAS Insights: The future of sustainability
Hannah Armitage of the FRC and Helen Marshall CA, CFO, Falcon Coffees, examine Covid-19’s impact on the sustainability agenda.
“The consideration of climate-related risks in an audit of financial statements”
A breakdown of IASB guidance.
“Global bodies launch prototype climate-related financial disclosure standard”
How five standard-setters came together to lay the groundwork for environmental impact reporting.
“Sustainability reporting examples”
Resources for ways of measuring climate-related impact across different business sectors.
“Call for improved UN Sustainable Development Goals disclosures”
Accountancy bodies worldwide, including ICAS, look to establish best practice guidelines for reporting on SDGs.
“New approach for aligning doing business to the Sustainable Development Goals”
A look at “The Sustainable Development Goals, integrated thinking and the integrated goals” report by Professor Carol Adams of Durham University.
“Climate change reporting in annual reports”
Alan Simpson CA looks at the climate reporting environment in the UK and EU and the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
There are additional external resources that can help members improve their knowledge in this area
The Climate Disclosure Standards Board is an international consortium of business and environmental NGOs.
TCFD Knowledge Hub
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ portal to its resources and recommendations.
International Accounting Standards Board’s Nick Anderson on its climate-related disclosures.
A4S Knowledge Hub
All the information you need from the Prince Charles-backed Accounting 4 Sustainability organisation.
Financial Reporting Lab
An article from the FRC body that asks “Climate-related corporate reporting: where to next?”