Putting sustainability at the centre of public finance


Marcel Holder Robinson, Policy Manager, CIPFA

Accounting for Sustainability Summit 2016

Marcel Holder Robinson of CIPFA attended HRH The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Summit 'Risk, Opportunity and Innovation' on Wednesday 16 November 2016.

The Accounting Bodies Network (ABN) meeting, held at Watermen’s Hall in London, brought together delegates from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, India and the UK. They were engaged in some very interacting sessions that were designed to solicit input into the A4S 2017 work plan. Participants also sought to identify where gaps exist in integrating sustainability in the learning cycle of a finance professional, and explore how those gaps could be addressed.

The ABN (established in 2008) comprises internationally renowned accounting professional bodies, including CIPFA, that are committed to incorporating the sustainability principle in their organisations as well as promoting accounting for sustainability amongst their members. 

Sessions from the All Networks Meeting included an overview of each A4S network and their achievements to date in contributing to the A4S vision and mission. Participants had the opportunity to share insights from recent projects and suggest actions that can help support advancing A4S’ impact in their respective sectors. 

A key outcome of this meeting was the coming together, for the first time, of members of all A4S networks (business leaders, CFOs, investors and the accounting professional bodies) to discuss how the efforts of each group could be aligned to both promote and encourage their peers and members to integrate leading sustainability practices into their organisations. 

The day’s activities culminated with an opening session of the summit at the ICAEW headquarters in London. It attracted over 300 attendees from various disciplines. The summit was opened by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, who gave his perspective on the opportunities and risks linked to macro sustainability trends. He also spoke about initiatives that the Bank of England has been undertaking to support sustainability in the markets.

On the last day of the summit a forum was held at St James's Palace, where the Prince of Wales spoke to the audience on how he envisioned the finance community identifying and tapping into innovative ways to address global sustainability challenges.

A debate session followed with panel experts from the finance and business communities who were challenged to propose the level of innovation needed to achieve a sustainable future.   

The A4S had some very valuable take-aways and assured participants that they will be communicating with the networks in the coming weeks about approved initiatives that are to be undertaken in 2017. This will provide CIPFA an opportunity to participate in the works of the A4S, among which are some interesting research projects. CIPFA will provide more information as it becomes available.

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For more information on the work of the A4S visit their website.

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