Ward made the comment as he launched the institute’s report on sustainability and corporate reputation.
One of the most controversial areas around environmental reporting is developing measures for non-financial data, but Ward said accountants and companies risked losing the initiative if they do not act.
‘If companies and the professions do not take a lead in developing realistic and understandable measures for non-financial information, regulators may well force their own ideas on them in the name of the public interest,’ said Ward, chairman of the institute’s sustainability advisory group.
He added that auditors are ideally placed to check statements on ethics and the environment are fair.
The institute’s report, like much recent literature, concludes that sustainability must be ’embedded’ in an organisation.
ACCA has already expressed support for mandatory environmental reporting on a limited basis.
In March, at ACCA’s annual environmental awards, former trade secretary Michael Meacher named and shamed six companies that had failed to improve their environmental reporting.
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