Accounting and business leaders from around the world will meet Wednesday, Dec. 17, in London for a forum on accounting for sustainability hosted by Prince Charles. The forum will include remarks from Prince Charles, HSBC Holdings Plc. Chairman Stephen Green and BP Plc. CEO Tony Hayward. The AICPA will also participate in the forum.
Prince Charles established the group Accounting for Sustainability ( www.accountingforsustainability.org and www.sustainabilityatwork.org.uk ) in 2004 to research and develop systems to help public- and private-sector organizations account more accurately for the wider social and environmental costs of their activities. Accounting for sustainability seeks to connect these costs with business strategy and financial performance.
“Ultimately, any integration of sustainability into a business’s operations will have an impact on its bottom line and communications to stakeholders,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, who will attend the forum.
“It’s critical that we understand how sustainability intersects with strategy and financial reporting,” said Bob Laux, an AICPA board member who is senior director of financial accounting and reporting for Microsoft Corp. “We have to look at the way we do business reporting and look beyond the short term. When you consider long-term strategy, sustainability fits well, because it’s a long-term issue.” Click here to see video of Laux discussing sustainability, accounting for sustainability and the London forum.
Representing the AICPA on the forum program, Laux, Brian Ballou, CPA, Ph.D., and Dan Heitger, Ph.D., co-directors of the Center for Business Excellence at Miami (Ohio) University, will participate in a panel discussion titled “Connected Reporting—A Mechanism for Change.” Their presentation will explore the U.S. perspective on the following questions:
· How can connected reporting that links strategy and financial and sustainability performance be developed that will change behavior and decision making?
· How can organizations overcome the barriers that hinder them from effectively implementing a connected reporting approach that aligns sustainability initiatives to strategy?
· What influence can connected sustainability reporting have on investors’ decision making, and to what extent will regulatory enforcement be required to drive change?
A report on the forum’s proceedings will be published outlining responses to key sustainability challenges and potential solutions to barriers.