Speaking at the institute’s annual dinner at Chartered Accountants Hall in the City of London, Ward said these concepts were increasingly being adopted by analysts and investors, very often as an integral part of their investment criteria.
‘World business leaders have recognised that good corporate citizenship is now a necessary licence to operate their businesses,’ he said. ‘We are beginning to regard this not as a form of philanthropy, but as an essential component of corporate competitiveness and reputation.’
Last week minister for corporate social responsibiity Kim Howells launched a DTI-backed initiative and website to encourage companies to develop a greater community spirit.
And Ward said the institute was also contributing to the debate by focusing on sustainability in terms of financial and non-financial reporting.
‘We are doing this through our sustainability group – comprising senior members from business, practice and academe together with government observers – supported by an advisory group, chaired by myself, of business members, investors, practitioners, personnel managers and the president of Transparency International UK,’ he added.
Ward also said that over the last year the institute had responded to ‘international challenges to demonstrate our profession’s integrity’ though submissions to the SEC over auditor independence and the promotion of the introduction of IAS across Europe.
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