Finance and sustainability are much more connected than previously thought.
ACCA recently urged Malaysian firms to ensure that qualified finance professionals are placed at the helm of their sustainability agendas.
Addressing senior representatives of some of the country’s most significant employers during a visit to Malaysia earlier this month, Helen Brand set out the vital role of the finance function in delivering climate change targets and building the prosperous, sustainable economies of the future, ACCA noted.
‘When we speak to business leaders and members in the region*, a common concern is that responsibility for climate risk and ESG is too far removed from financial decision makers — this has to change urgently if we’re to tackle the very real threats these risks pose,” Brand said.
When organisations are driven by the short-term thinking that quarterly results reporting and limited five-year timescales cultivate, true long-term, sustainable prosperity is harder to achieve, she noted.
Finance and sustainability helps firms attract talent
Not only does it make business sense to ensure professional accountants drive the agenda, but when facing a shortage of skills and talent, employers that can show they are driving positive change are much more attractive to potential new staff, she added.
Measurement, accounting, reporting and verification form an important part of achieving climate change targets and the ACCA Qualification integrates sustainability as a core capability, the accountancy body said.
Accountants are trained to see the long-term value of pivoting established business models, when they are at the heart of organisations, sustainable businesses and economies, then they can make a real difference, said Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad FCCA, chairman, CIMB Group.
“If accountants use their ethics, responsibility, and knowledge, they really can help save the world,” he added.