The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Summit 2017, 15-16 November 2017, brought together global leaders from business and finance, including Chairmen, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Investment Officers (CIOs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), to agree actions that, it is hoped, will accelerate the transition to a more sustainable world.
The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) was established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 2004 with the aim of inspiring action by finance leaders to drive a fundamental shift towards resilient business models and a sustainable economy. To do this, the organisation has three core aims that underpin everything it does:
- Inspire finance leaders to adopt sustainable and resilient business models
- Transform financial decision making to enable an integrated approach, reflective of the opportunities and risks posed by environmental and social issues
- Scale up action across the global finance and accounting community
The “by invitation only” Summit last week explored the practical actions available to achieve a sustainable economy. Participants shared knowledge and heard how organizations are developing resilient business models. Attending on behalf of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) and its members were Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, and Steve Leicester, CFO.
The opening session of the Summit explored major themes such as leadership by the financial and accountancy professionals on implementing the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). During the event, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales spoke on the role of the finance community in achieving a sustainable world.
Also at the event A4S launched the Statements of Support for the TCFD Recommendations to be signed by:
- CEOs of Accounting Bodies
- Chairs of Pension Funds
Since the event a number of CFOs from major organisations have signed the Statement of Support and publicly confirmed their commitment to support the recommendations. This list of CFOs includes Steve Leicester of ICMIF and Bruce West, CFO of ICMIF member The Co-operators Group Limited. The Co-operators has also pledged its support to the financial disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities.
The Co-operators is one of the founding members of the Canadian chapter of A4S’s CFO Leadership Network and the company said last week that it has signed up to this public declaration of support for the recommendations of the TCFD, intended to lead to effective measurement and improved company resilience; informed decisions by investors; and better evaluation of risks and exposures by lenders, insurers and underwriters.
“The Co-operators is proud to join an international effort towards a more sustainable, resilient and low-carbon economy,” says West. “Insurance and financial services industries and the Canadians who rely on them will continue to experience increased risk and challenges as the climate changes. By incorporating these recommended disclosures into our financial statements, we can better manage climate-related risks to protect the financial security and peace of mind of Canadians for generations to come.”
Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, ICMIF, said: “The Co-operators, like many of our members, is well known for its commitment to sustainability. Our hope in the coming months is to encourage other ICMIF members to pledge their support for the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
The Summit enabled A4S to bring together its existing CFO Leadership Network and Accounting Bodies Network (ABN) to discuss further action. Roundtable sessions included discussions between investors and CFOs on the TCFD recommendations. CFOs also explored practical approaches to the inclusion of sustainability into strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting, and how to account for social and human capital. The A4S CFO Leadership Network is a group of CFOs from large organizations that embed the management of environmental, social and governance (ESG) into strategy and business processes – and other CFOs from around the globe are actively encouraged to join them in supporting the implementation of these recommendations.
In a recent blog for A4S, Kerry Perkins, Senior Manager – Engagement and Implementation at A4S says: “There has been growing global support amongst businesses, the investor and regulatory communities and accountancy bodies for the wide adoption of the TCFD’s recommendations. Large groups of CEOs, investors, or even companies by country have signed statements and letters encouraging or committing to adoption. However, put simply, without CFO support the recommendations will have little traction, as it will be them and their teams upon whom we rely to implement this framework. We look to CFOs and their teams to lead the accounting community in adopting this framework in order to change the current status quo of inconsistent, incomparable or non-existent disclosure, and help address significant risks to the economy and society posed by climate change.”