ACCA Canada News Release
Guidelines Are Needed for Companies to Embrace Corporate Sustainability Reporting Says Canadian ACCA Focus Group
Stakeholders from across the Globe participated in a focus group to identify stakeholder perspectives on corporate sustainability reporting
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 24, 2013) - ACCA held a series of focus groups in six countries around the world to understand how the international community should take forward the commitments set out in Paragraph 47 of "The Future We Want", from the UN's outcome document which was agreed at the Rio+20 conference in 2012. The discussions - held in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, South Africa, the UAE and the UK - are presented by ACCA from both stakeholder and national perspectives, and are published in a new report from ACCA called Paragraph 47: international perspectives one year on.
Paragraph 47 acknowledges the importance of corporate sustainability development. The inclusion of Paragraph 47 was seen as a small measure of success, but the language used was too vague to have any real impact on the corporate sector in Canada, say experts attending a focus group held by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). The private sector might be a better promoter of corporate sustainability reporting in Canada than a UN or government-led initiative, due to mechanisms already in place to 'name and shame' companies that operate in an unsustainable manner.
Among the shared stakeholder perspectives, a principles-based framework would be better than a 'checklist' approach, as the former would encourage companies to consider their material impacts rather than focus on complying with minimum standards.
"There was common opinion that sustainability reporting will help efforts to address social and environmental issues, that government-led action was an important way to kick start the wider adoption of sustainability reporting, and that existing frameworks should be used to develop best practice, rather than being inefficient and reinventing the wheel," said Rachel Jackson, ACCA's Head of Sustainability.
A set of recommendations emerging from the debate have been put forward for any government intending to implement Paragraph 47.
Recommendations include, but are not limited to:
- Focus on materiality
- Ensure outcomes-based and contextual reporting
- Facilitate the integration of sustainability into business strategy
- Use stock exchanges and their influence over listed companies
- Build on existing frameworks and harmonising requirements
- Develop an awareness of local knowledge and limitations
- Scale down requirements for SMEs
Suzanne Godbehere, Head of ACCA Canada, said:
"These discussions will hopefully make a difference in helping to change perspectives and show just how important corporate sustainability reporting is to helping Canada's economy regain its momentum."
Notes to Editors
- ACCA is not affiliated with any chartered accountant (CA) organization.
- ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
- We support our 162,000 members and 426,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 89 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
- ACCA Canada has around 2,500 members and 1,200 students in Canada.
- Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.