By Barry Cooper, ACCA President
I would like to take this opportunity to send you all the best wishes for the Chinese New Year, which is now celebrated around the world. The Year of the Snake will be an important one not only for China and Asia, but for the whole world given the region’s economic importance and influence.
One of the key areas that Asian organisations will need to look at more closely, in common with their counterparts around the world, is how prepared they are to adopt a more sustainable approach in their operations. It’s important not just for how environmentally friendly businesses are perceived to be now, but for future generations too, which may have to pay a high price for any lack of global action.
ACCA recently published a report, The green economy: pushes and pulls on Corporate China, which asks whether corporate Asia is ready for the green economy. It concludes that the next few years will be critical ones in the shift to a more sustainable economy in Asia. All stakeholders will have to work together if sustainability is to be successfully adopted. Governments will need to promote green growth; investors will need to incorporate environmental, social and governance considerations into their decision-making; and companies will need to develop goods and services that minimise their environmental and social impact.
What was good to see from the report is that the business case for sustainability is gaining momentum in Asia and that leading companies are integrating sustainability into their corporate culture and decision-making processes. They are already seeing the benefits not only in terms of lower dependency on natural resources, but also in increased sales; customers from around the world are looking at sustainability issues before they make decisions about when, where and from whom to buy.
As accountants, you are well placed to help businesses and the wider economy they operate in to measure, manage and report on their environmental and social impact, and to enable more organisations to adopt green practices. I wish you every success in this critical mission.
This post first appeared in Accounting and business, UK edition, February 2013