ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) have joined hands to commemorate Earth Day 2021 aiming to promote awareness about climate risks, shedding light on key environmental issues and concerns, and inspiring collaborative action among citizens to address these challenges.
Focusing on how professional accountants can collaborate with conservationists to better understand and manage natural capital by preserving its value and help organisations become more environmentally aware and sustainable, ACCA and WWF-Pakistan are jointly holding a virtual webinar featuring prominent leaders from across the Middle East and South Asia region. Jimmy Greer, Head of Sustainability, ACCA, Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan, and Dr. Eric Wikramanayake, Senior Conservation Scientist are among the conversation leaders.
Emphasising on the role of finance as a profession in promoting sustainable business practices, the head of ACCA Pakistan, Sajjeed Aslam, stated ‘Finance professionals have a key role to play in any organisation’s journey of sustainability as there is an urgent need for them to fully understand the interconnectivity between financial capital and natural capital, recognizing that failing to do so is raising reputational, physical and transitional risks.”
Moreover, commenting on the collaboration with ACCA, Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan said ‘WWF-Pakistan and ACCA in Pakistan have previously worked together in introducing the Pakistan Environmental Reporting Awards (PERA) that resulted in greater adoption of sustainable reporting by the corporate sector in the country. We are happy to be collaborating with them again on a regional level to start a dialogue about the serious climate and environmental risks our communities and economies face.’
Globally, ACCA has been working in the sustainability field since the early 1990s, and, for example, it has a 20-year record in promoting sustainability reporting. ACCA believes businesses would best be able to deliver enhanced sustainable performance if they embrace transparency and effectively measure their impacts.
‘Increasingly, professional accountants will be involved in the assessment and pursuit of sustainable development goals (SDG)-related opportunities, understanding the wider context of operating in more complex markets, where sustainable development issues lie at the heart of value creation. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical to involve finance professionals and provide them with all the tools and support.’ said Arif Masud Mirza FCCA, Regional Head of Policy – MESA, ACCA
On Earth Day 2021, ACCA will also be launching an online Sustainability Hub to provide finance professionals around the world with access to highly relevant resources and knowledge enabling them to rise to this global challenge and make a difference.
Last year ACCA renewed its commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recognising the importance of the 17 interconnected SDGs, ACCA says its commitments demonstrate that ACCA and its community can make the most significant contribution towards nine of them.
These include offering access to quality finance and accountancy education that is free from artificial barriers, committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, and working in partnership to build an inclusive global profession that supports the development of ethical, sustainable, and successful businesses and economies.
South Asia and the Middle East are amongst the most vulnerable regions impacted by climate change and countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are already paying a significant price as a result of frequent river, coastal and urban flooding that is only increasing as our planet becomes warmer, putting livelihoods of millions in peril. In Bangladesh alone, one-third of the population is at risk of displacement because of the rising sea level.
Strict enforcement of the COP-21 Paris Agreement on climate change in Sri Lanka, the Billion Tree Tsunami initiative in Pakistan, and the recently announced ‘Middle East Green Initiative’ by Saudi Arabia are some of the examples showing that the region is committed to playing its part in this global fight. The collaboration between ACCA and WWF-Pakistan will help the respective governments in the region in getting greater support for the corporate sector as they become more aware of the climate risks and realise the significance of their contribution.