Accountants sign up to Prince’s sustainability code

Accountants around the world have signed up to a set of principles that says efforts to track an organisation's social and environmental impacts must go hand-in-hand with financial reporting.

16 professional bodies representing a significant share of the world’s chartered accountants have given their seal of approval to the principles of the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Forum.

This is the first time a global group of accounting bodies has publicly committed to a set of guidelines on how to behave in keeping with the wider sustainability agenda.

As well as covering the professional ethics of existing accountants, the principles commit members of the forum to training new accountants to embed sustainability throughout the profession.

The Prince of Wales said: “I am delighted that accounting bodies across the world have recognised that sustainability is an issue of global concern and have committed to the Principles developed by my Accounting for Sustainability Forum.

“I have long been concerned not only by the damage caused to the environment by many of our activities, but also by the broader issue that many of our decisions, taken at all levels and in all walks of life, have wider or longer-term consequences of which those taking the decisions are unaware or do not understand fully.

“It was for this reason that I established my Accounting for Sustainability Project in 2004: to help ensure that sustainability – considering what we do not only in terms of ourselves and today, but also of others and tomorrow – is not just talked and worried about, but becomes embedded in organisations’ DNA.

“We need to ensure that we are not battling to meet twenty-first century challenges with twentieth century decision-making and reporting systems; that we not only provide today’s decision-makers with the information they need, but also educate tomorrow’s finance and accounting professionals so that sustainability considerations become an integral part of day-to-day business.

“By adopting my Accounting for Sustainability Forum’s Principles I hope and believe that an important step is being made in this respect.”

Helen Brand, chief executive of the UK’s Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) added: “We fully support Accounting for Sustainability’s principles which seek to put sustainability issues at the heart of business practice, alongside strategy and profitability.

“We have campaigned for nearly 20 years to highlight the importance of organisations being transparent about the environmental and societal impacts of their activities.

“This initiative will encourage more to think about how they can report on these impacts – and by measuring them, manage them more effectively.”

The accounting bodies who have signed the principles are:

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Accountants of Canada (CICA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB)
  • Global Accounting Alliance (GAA)
  • Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
  • Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland (IDW Germany)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA)
  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)
  • South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
  • David Gibbs

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