Sustainability reports should be externally verified: CPA Australia

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SINGAPORE, October 6, 2021 / PRNewswire / – According to the global professional accounting body CPA Australia, sustainability reports should be subject to external audit in order to maintain their integrity and independence.

CPA Australia logo (PRNewsfoto / CPA Australia)

Reporting on internal assurance alone can create a gap in expectations and confuse users, reducing their confidence in a sustainability report.

“External assurance by an external auditor requires the expertise and collaboration of finance and accounting professionals and other independent ESG experts. Listed companies should be required to publicly disclose whether external assurance has been obtained on their sustainability reports, ”said Melvin yong, Singapore Country Head, CPA Australia.

In Singapore, assurance of sustainability reporting has been a key discussion point recently. A climate and diversity consultation paper, released by market regulator Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX Regco), was closed for submissions last week.

SGX RegCo had proposed that listed companies submit their sustainability reports to the assurance of their internal auditors. However, companies can also choose to have their reports certified by external auditors or an independent certification service provider.

In 2017, the Climate-Related Financial Disclosure Working Group (TCFD), established by the International Financial Stability Board, recommended four elements of climate-related financial disclosure that could be adopted by reporting organizations. all sectors and jurisdictions; governance, strategy, risk management, indicators and objectives.

CPA Australia considers that a phased approach to external assurance is necessary to enable capacity building and preparedness within reporting entities. He recommends starting with external assurance on parameters that have clear measurement criteria, such as greenhouse gas emissions. In this context, the making of net emissions commitments by companies is very important.

In addition, CPA Australia recommends that assurance be required against appropriate criteria that include the applied sustainability framework and standards, or at a minimum the stated readiness basis, rather than mere selected assertions.

Net zero emission target

Recognizing the urgency to act, CPA Australia is committed to achieving net greenhouse gas emissions within its organization and providing sound advice to governments on a just transition to a net zero economy.

The professional accounting body, which represents more than 168,000 members worldwide, is also committed to providing training and advice to its members to help them reduce emissions in their own organizations and businesses.

These commitments are part of a global commitment, launched today, by 12 accounting bodies to commit to zero net greenhouse gas emissions. This is an initiative of the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Project Accounting Bodies Network (ABN), of which CPA Australia is a member. This network represents more than 2.5 million professional accountants and students in 179 countries.

CPA Australia General manager Andrew Hunter said: “The accounting profession occupies a privileged position in the global economy. As trusted advisors, we have access to in-depth business information on sustainability risks and opportunities. This knowledge creates an obligation to use our skills to protect our environmental heritage. CPA Australia is a global organization in a global profession and we are proud to be part of the global response to climate change. “

CPA Australia is one of the only accounting bodies in the world to produce an integrated annual report that has received limited assurance as part of the entire framework . It will report on progress against the net zero commitment in its integrated report.

A4S Executive Chairman jessica fries said: “The accounting bodies that make this commitment are showing leadership in the fight against climate change. Accountants who work for the good of their business and serve the public interest have always been the backbone of stable economies. This commitment brings us closer to building a sustainable world. “

Read the net zero commitment here.

On CPA Australia

CPA Australia is one of the largest professional accounting bodies in the world, with over 168,000 members in over 100 countries and regions, including over 8,500 members in Singapore. CPA Australia worked in Singapore since 1954 and opened our Singapore in 1989. Our core services include education, training, technical support and advocacy. CPA Australia provides thought leadership on local, national and international issues affecting the accounting profession and the public interest. We work with governments, regulators and industries to advocate for policies that drive sustainable economic growth and have positive business and public outcomes. Learn more at cpaaustralia.com.au

SOURCE CPA Australia

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