The IASB stands accused of shirking its responsibility for developing standards recognising sustainable development in a report which investigates the role accountants and accounting have to play in preserving the environment.
After identifying the contributions made by accountants, the report then launches a broadside at the IASB noting the ‘lack of global standard-setter involvement’.
‘Despite a great deal of grass-roots activity in the environmental accounting area, private sector accounting standard-setters at the international (IASB) and national levels have generally chosen to avoid dealing directly with the topic of environmental issues in financial reporting,’ the report said.
Compiled by ACCA experts and the UN Environment Programme, the report was launched at the sustainable development summit in Johannesburg and comes as attention to the affects of global markets on the environment and societies in the developing world is at an all-time high.
The lack of involvement is underlined by the fact that approaches from ACCA to the IASB for the standard-setter to participate in compiling the report were rejected. Insiders have made it clear they see no way of developing a rigorous standard for sustainable development and that it could not be prioritised over the existing workload. But there is also a belief that there is no call for such standards from listed companies. A spokesman said: ‘There has never been any significant demand for this sort of thing in the capital markets.’
Included in the report is a call from ACCA and the UN for ‘concerned professional bodies and the regional accounting organisations’ to pressure the IASB to put environmental reporting on its agenda. It goes on to say that unless ‘environmental management accounting’ is embraced by bodies like the IASB, control will be taken by non-accounting organisations like the UN and the EU.
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