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Sustainability accountants: What do they do? Logo cgma

  Malia Politzer |   Free |   Sep 2021 |   FM magazine

Companies are grappling with ESG risks and opportunities in their strategy and business models. Some hire sustainability accountants or create whole departments to measure and track ESG metrics to ensure long-term value creation.

Topics covered:
  • Management accounting: Leadership: Driving performance, Advanced
  • Management accounting: Technical: Management reporting & analysis: Management reporting, Advanced

7 Comments/Reflections

David Johnson

David Johnson Aug 2023

Sustainability is an area of interest for me and so this article was an interesting introduction into the relationship between management accountants and sustainability reporting and driving an ESG agenda. Having read the article it seems as though there isn't necessarily always a need/possibility to have a dedicated sustainability accountant. Instead a management accountant could incorporate sustainability reporting within KPIs and monthly management packs, in order to create visibility of the cost implications to senior management.
Ashish Mukund Puranik

Ashish Mukund Puranik Jul 2023

this is well written article but there are some important issues like
1 Designing true pathways for sustainability
2 Well studied Sustainable Financial Model for each industry
3 Awareness among the shareholders and other stake holders 
4 Bit of Philosophical disucssions and trends in Sustainability should be brought in black and white formats and standards  
Michael Sodeinde

Michael Sodeinde Mar 2023

All organisations must develop frameworks for their ESG and sustainability reporting. Accountants have a huge role to play in this space by partnering with the business in integrating non-financial metrics into already existing financial reporting systems. For example, a metric like carbon emission intensity can be one of the KPIs reported on periodically.

In some organisations, a separate sustainability accountant position may not be defined. Sustainability reporting may simply be integrated into the annual financial reporting role.
Nicola Wiggins

Nicola Wiggins Mar 2023

Having dedicated personnel in your company to focus on sustainability is easy for large companies to do but less so for micro/SMEs. In smaller companies, sustainability has to be more than another department or a box ticked on a report - it has to be part of the culture in order for learnings to be embedded in company processes and policies. In smaller companies, I would argue the CFO needs to lead on this initiative and, if that makes them the sustainability accountant, then great. Finding someone with a real passion for sustainability is key here, as non-financial factors are just as important as tangible of financial ones. Then a rounded picture of the business's current impact can be understood and delivered as a proactive strategy across the entire business.
Marian Lakshika Fernando

Marian Lakshika Fernando Jun 2022

CEO's are now interested in more sustainability reporting. An accountant can simply be a sustainability accountant by following the guidelines in this article.