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KARACHI: Flash floods recently inundated a third of our country. They cost not only many lives, but also financial losses of billions affecting different sectors of Pakistan’s faltering economy.

Worldwide climate-related issues will cause damage and rising sea levels risk islands disappearing forever unless we start to act responsibly. Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, and meeting net zero targets, is vital for preserving our planet every government, business and individual has a part to play in achieving this.

The accountancy profession can contribute overall by accounting for a better world. Finance professionals are at the centre of every organisation influencing business decisions and strategies. As we accelerate our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, finance professionals in all organisations, whether big or small businesses, or across the public sector, will be a driving force in enabling this. ACCA professional accountants are trained to see the bigger picture, looking at a wider range of issues and not just focusing on the numbers.

Finance functions will therefore be key in measuring, accounting, reporting, and verification: all form an important part of the race to achieve net zero. Professional accountants can analyse, monitor, and report ESG-related financial and non-financial data covering costs, benefits, risks, and opportunities, as well as carbon accounting and pricing fundamentals. From reporting on CO2 emissions to measuring social impact, the skills, judgment, and a 360-degree, data-informed view that professional accountants have are invaluable as they will enable organisations to develop well-structured and de-risked sustainable development initiatives.

A common concern in reaching the targets on time is that responsibility for climate risk and ESG is too far removed from financial decision makers, and this must change urgently if we are to tackle the very real threats these risks pose. When organisations are driven by the long-term thinking beyond limited quarterly results reporting and five-year timescales, they cultivate and achieve true long-term and sustainable prosperity.

Businesses in Pakistan really can address this by ensuring qualified finance professionals are at the heart of their sustainability agenda and play along-term crucial role in delivering climate change targets effectively as well as embracing global standards to benchmark progress.

ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) continues to champion sustainability through its strong global community of 800,000 (approx.) members and future members across 178 countries. The ACCA Qualification, education and training enables professional accountants to embed and support sustainable practices in the organisations they work with, with as well as shape policy, regulation, and standards.

Sustainability is a core capability in our training, preparing future generation of accountants to guide organisations in environmental impact and considerations, managing risks and integrated reporting to a diversity of stakeholders. At a strategic level, this incorporates new business models for transformation, circular economies, and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) disclosures.

ACCA, as a force for good, we put sustainability front and centre in all we do. We map our strategies to the UN’s SDGs and focus our training of next-generation accountants on building their sustainability capabilities. We aim to qualify them to guide organisations in making positive environmental impacts, managing risks, and integrating reporting to meet the needs of diverse stakeholders.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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