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(Melbourne, Australia , May 13, 2011)

CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, together with the Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), hosted a forum for local professional accountants this week. The focus of the forum was on how professional accountants in business can support their organizations to improve governance practices through the integration of financial and non-financial information into their reporting, including a focus on environment, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

The forum and subsequent PAIB Committee meeting, held in Melbourne, included speakers from National Australia Bank, VicSuper (a retirement/pension provider), Macquarie Securities, KPMG, the University of Melbourne, the Water Accounting Standards Board (Australia), and the International Integrated Reporting Committee's content working group. A key focus of the discussions was how integrated reporting can drive good governance practices, including new systems and processes to measure, analyze, and report an organization’s environmental, social, and economic performance.

“Professional accountants help their organizations recognize the importance of incorporating ESG factors into functions and processes—from strategic planning and goal setting to external communications and reporting,” said Roger Tabor, chair of the PAIB Committee. “The speakers at the PAIB Forum and subsequent committee meeting served to help us better understand how organizations and their investors are managing ESG issues, and incorporating ESG into valuations and decision making.”

The forum was attended by approximately 150 delegates and the main conclusions were:

  • Integrated reporting needs to reflect an organization’s strategy and values, as well as how it is managed in all social, environmental, and economic dimensions of performance;
  • The process of integrated reporting, in turn, is a powerful tool to help drive an organization’s strategic agenda, providing management with key drivers of performance;
    Integrated reporting has to be open and transparent by reflecting both improvements in performance as well as weaknesses; and
  • Pension fund investors, as well as some other institutional investors, are increasingly looking for financial implications of ESG factors to understand how an organization’s strategy and operations are affecting the numbers and key measures of performance.
The International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC), of which IFAC is a participant, is moving quickly and with wide stakeholder support to develop a globally accepted international framework for integrated reporting that brings together the various ESG reporting dimensions. The framework will be designed to make reporting more relevant for organizations, their shareholders, and their other stakeholders, to reduce the cost and complexity of reporting, and to provide a better basis to determine the cost of capital. The IIRC’s discussion paper is expected in 2011 and will be available at www.theiirc.org.

Integrated Reporting and Sustainability Resources

About the PAIB Committee
The PAIB Committee serves IFAC member bodies and professional accountants worldwide who work in commerce, industry, financial services, education, and the public and not-for-profit sectors. Its aim is to promote and contribute to the value of professional accountants in business by increasing awareness of the important roles professional accountants play, supporting member bodies in enhancing the competence of their members, and facilitating the communication and sharing of good practices and ideas.

About IFAC
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 164 members and associates in 125 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.

Jennifer DiClerico
Head of Communications

Prepared by IFAC's Communications Department. Contact communications@ifac.org for further information.
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