The Global survey of accountants this year has unearthed accountants’ disappointment of businesses environmental as well as social strategies. These accountants and financial experts support the move to a “sustainable recovery” but fear that businesses are only escalating negative environmental/social impacts.
The survey was part of a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). It was titled “Mainstreaming Impact: scaling a sustainable recovery“.
In its research, it asked 829 accountants and finance experts around the world about the environmental progress and performance among the organisations they work for.
It was recorded that 90% of those questioned were not happy with the current environmental and social sustainability efforts carried out by their organisation. The accountants said that they want to see their organisations increase all their efforts to become more sustainable, and in doing so, create positive societal change post-pandemic.
One in 20 of the accountants and financial professionals surveyed said that finance teams did have an essential role in contributing to a “more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable future”.
75% of respondents mentioned that the business they currently work for needs to target the social inequalities which still exist to this day. This could be through wealth, race, sexuality, sexual orientation, religion and gender.
However, an additional 10% to this said that businesses need to make more efforts in curbing the environmental damage, a forefront topic of 2020 behind the global pandemic.
A worrying statistic showed that only 54% of respondents believed that they had the training and skills that were vital to combat the environmental and social change in the business they are employed by.
Many of those surveyed highlighted the barriers businesses face to environmental and social improvements. For example, the cost implications, a narrow focus on returns and a lack of senior management.
Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA stressed that accountants have “a huge role” to play in environmental performance improvements. She added that this was “because it’s through professional education that accountants can support the transition to a net-zero carbon world.”
Head of sustainability at ACCA, Jimmy Greer said that “Professional accountants and finance teams are central actors, with the skills, knowledge and ambition to do more” and that businesses “need to make board level governance commitment to additional and intentional social and environmental positive impact creation.”
Greer finished by saying that businesses “must allocate resources within finance teams and across organisations to build decision-making capabilities related to environmental and social impact.”
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