Accountants ‘deeply concerned’ about building back better social and environmental impact

Karachi October 16 (Online): A global survey of finance professionals reveals their deep concerns about social and environmental issues, with 90 per cent of respondents saying they want organisations to increase efforts to become more environmentally sustainable and make a more positive impact on society after the pandemic.

Scaling a sustainable recovery from Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), also reveals the desire of accountants to spearhead this change, with 95 per cent agreeing finance teams have a role to play in building a more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable future.

Eighty-four per cent of the 60 expert panelists from across the South Asia region, including Pakistan, said it was important that the economic recovery from Covid-19 sees organisations become more environmentally sustainable and make more of a positive impact on society.

Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan, says: ‘These findings come when around the world in 2020 we have seen record-breaking temperature devastating fires and flooding, and the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which has worsened existing socio-economic inequalities and reinforced the fragilities of the natural world.

‘It is also good to see respondents looking ahead at their own skills and knowledge, with many expressing an interest in developing further skills to tackle these issues – 58 per cent say they are looking to develop knowledge in social impact measurement and 69 per cent are interested in sustainability data analytics.’

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of South Asia respondents also said having an understanding and accounting for environmental dependencies and social impact was important for organisations to build a greener and more inclusive world.

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA says in the report’s introduction: ‘Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which can act as a common language roadmap to follow out of the current crisis, businesses of all sizes can use this moment to step forward and commit to making an intentional, positive impact on society and the environment through their activities. And for professional accountants, they can make these commitments a reality.

‘They have a huge role here, because it’s through professional education that accountants can support the transition to a net-zero carbon world. We’re committed to ensuring that sustainability and green finance is an integral part of our world-class qualification and members’ CPD, supporting our members with a range of new online learning offerings on these important areas.’

Jimmy Greer, ACCA’s head of sustainability adds ‘Now is the time to mainstream social and environmental impact management, so that our economies and societies become more resilient to future shocks and can embed health, equity, community and sustainability into business models. Professional accountants and finance teams are central actors, with the skills, knowledge and ambition to do more.’

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