Dec 13, 2012 Comments Off on Sustainable capitalism, corporate reporting and the role of the accounting profession
2012 is the year of Rio+20, a major milestone in a series of conferences on Sustainable Development held by the United Nations. Rio+20 is anticipated to be the largest of them all and will focus on the progress made in tackling sustainability issues since the historic Earth Summit of 1992. It was at this summit, in the same city, that the UN framework convention on climate change was established, among other things.
From a corporate reporting perspective, there is an ongoing impetus to properly operationalise the concept of integrated reporting. It is through the Integrated Report, using the mechanism of integrated reporting, that stewards seek to provide stakeholders with connected information on the broad sustainability of a corporation in the short, medium and long term.
The purpose of this article is to assess the role that corporate reporting, the accounting profession and accounting professionals in South Africa have played and can play to advance sustainable value creation.
The list of challenges currently facing our planet is formidable and in some respects unprecedented and extraordinary. The seventh edition of Global Risks 2012 recently published by the World Economic Forum warns that unsustainable economic imbalances, social inequalities and the possible knock-on effects of other risks may lead to the reversal of the gains of globalisation.
Many of the top-most risks identified clearly relate to broad sustainability issues, and include serious concerns about water supply, food shortages, chronic fiscal imbalances, severe income disparities, extreme volatility in energy and agricultural prices, rising greenhouse gas emissions and a failure to adapt to the effects of climate change.
These challenges impact on the sustainability of our economic and physical future as well as the manner in which we organise ourselves.
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