The Prince of Wales and The Duchess
of Cornwall

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince Harry

Open

Accounting for Sustainability

  • HRH The Prince of Wales
  • HRH The Prince of Wales
  • Sarah Nolleth
  • The A4S Panel

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has long been concerned about the current rate at which we are using the planet’s resources - that the things we enjoy today will be at the expense of our children and grandchildren unless we begin to take day-to-day decisions that recognise the importance of the environment and society.

While many organisations are working to reduce their environmental footprint and to increase their positive impact on society, many often see concern for the environment and society as ‘optional extras’ and struggle to effectively include such considerations in the day-to-day running of their organisation.

The Prince of Wales established his Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) to help the business community and public sector recognise the benefits of considering the environment and wider society as part of their mainstream day-to-day business decisions. We specifically work with the global accounting and finance community to achieve this.

Speaking at the launch of A4S in 2004, His Royal Highness stated the project aims “to help ensure that we are not battling to meet 21st Century challenges with, at best, 20th Century decision-making and reporting systems.”

To learn more about the goals of A4S, watch its “Business Leader or Eco-warrior” film, which shows how business leaders can benefit from engaging with the sustainability agenda, starring Sir Richard Branson, Justin King, Sir Stuart Rose, Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden, and Indra Nooyi, with voiceover by Stephen Fry.

A4S uses its unique convening power to work with the finance, accounting and investor community to drive change through:

  • Demonstrating the business case for organizations to consider the environment and wider society in their day-to-day decisions, accounting and in their Annual Report. 

  • Developing systems, tools and guidance for the accounting, finance and investor community to take action and take consideration of the environment and wider society into account.

  • Creating an ‘enabling environment’ or wider economic context in which organizations are able to function sustainably, within a ‘bigger picture’ that supports this approach.

The Project’s work to date includes:

  • Establishing the Accounting Bodies Network, an international group of accounting bodies that work to promote accounting for sustainability with both current and future accounting and finance professionals, including through updated professional qualifications. This helps to drive change through their collective membership of almost two million accountants and accounting students in 176 countries around the world.
  • Co-founding a global coalition, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), to improve the ways that businesses report their activities to investors and other stakeholders. 
  • Launching the Finance for the Future Awards, which reward organisations that are practising ‘Integrated Thinking’ and embedding environmental and social considerations into day-to-day decisions with leadership from their finance teams. 
  • Holding successful events at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in June 2012. 
  • Hosting annual forum events since 2006 at St James’s Palace opened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and attended by around 200 representatives from the international business communities, investors, accounting bodies, government, academia and civil society to promote accounting for sustainability. 
  • Developing a range of guidance and tools to help organisations embed sustainability into day-to-day decisions, including a book of case studies “Accounting for Sustainability - Practical Insights”.

For further information on the Project’s work and how to get involved, visit: www.accountingforsustainability.org/about-us/how-to-get-involved

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