Survey on accounting for sustainability practices released by CIMA, AICPA and CICA

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17 Dec, 2010

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) have released Evolution of corporate sustainability practices – Perspectives from the UK, US and Canada, a survey measuring the state of accounting for sustainability in the UK and North America.

Although the results may reflect a higher degree of interest in sustainability among respondents who opted to participate in the survey (and so may not necessarily reflect the entire population), the survey is of interest as the global financial community pushes towards more integrated reporting. Key findings include:

  • Although compliance with regulatory requirements still remains the most common driver of business sustainability, profitability and other strategic factors are also significant
  • Large companies have more robust sustainability capabilities than small companies
  • Contributions by an entity's finance function to sustainability programs are highly valued, yet underdeveloped
  • UK based organisations appear to be ahead in implementing sustainability practices and finance function involvement compared to their North American counterparts.

Click for press release (link to CICA website). The report is available at

CIMA, AICPA and CICA are all founding members of the Accounting Bodies Network of the Prince's Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Project, which is meeting in London. The Princes of Wales' speech to the meeting is available here. An excerpt:

"The new integrated reporting model which the IIRC [International Integrated Reporting Committee] is helping to develop will address each of these issues — the failure to value and price our natural capital, the narrowness and retrospective emphasis of most accounting information and our disproportionate focus on the short-term. A4S Project's main achievement in 2010 was helping to establish the IIRC. And I very much hope that one of its main achievements in 2011 will be working out how we can better value natural capital. As soon as possible we have to start putting a price on the multi-trillion dollar contribution that natural capital makes to the world's economy. The problem is time is simply not on our side, but the task is not impossible."

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