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The pace of change for sustainability reporting is extremely fast. Collaboration within the profession is needed. Without it, we risk losing the opportunity to lead in this increasingly important area.

Professional accountants are best positioned to deliver sustainability-related services both as a preparer and assurance. Many of the skills and competencies required to effectively use sustainability standards and frameworks are already in today’s professional accountant’s toolkit. [For more on how our skills and competencies apply to the sustainability landscape, check out the video from Anne-Marie Vitale, Chair of the IFAC International Panel on Accountancy Education.]

Additional knowledge is still needed to fully equip ourselves; however, the pursuit of this knowledge should be no different than moving into any new industry or encountering a merger or acquisition for the first time and all the complexities it could bring.

Several professional accountancy organizations have already developed or are in the process of developing courses and certifications to help their membership and the profession acquire this knowledge. The courses and certifications listed below are among those that will help accelerate the collective pace of acquiring sustainability knowledge. While many PAOs have resources for their membership, those listed below are publicly available; most are on demand, either for a fee or at no cost.

For some foundational background, consider watching IFAC’sUnderstanding ESG reporting” in addition to any materials your PAO may offer. Please contact if there are additional publicly available courses that should be added to this listing.

  • Click the arrows below for descriptions and links to available courses and certificates
  • Courses

    Accounting for Sustainability

    • A4S Academy
      • “The A4S Academy is a learning and implementation programme for finance leaders on embedding sustainability. The programme empowers and equips finance teams with the skills needed for their businesses to succeed in the face of environmental and social risks and opportunities. The Academy is for senior finance professionals, sponsored by their CFOs. All sessions are being held online”

    Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

    • Climate risk and reporting for finance professionals
      • “Climate change impacts every organisation, and the risks and opportunities for organisations need to be understood and managed. Professional accountants and finance teams are currently underutilised in this area, but our skills and knowledge are essential in building better impact management. In this course, we will be looking at the external forces relating to climate change that, as professional accountants, we will have to address in order to build organisational resilience, cause less damage to the planet and help people live well.”

    Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and the University of Oxford

    • Online ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy Course
      • Firms are operating within an environment of unprecedented change brought about by sustainability issues, which presents both risks and opportunities that can radically impact the value of the firm. This executive management course, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, will provide finance and accounting professionals with the skills to lead their firm’s response to sustainability issues, such as climate and the transition to net zero business models, and understand how to integrate these into decision making and resource allocation. ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy is a six-week online course, where you will learn alongside a global cohort of like-minded finance professionals and hear from guest speakers who are leaders in this field. Drawing on the world-class expertise of Oxford faculty, you’ll be provided with frameworks, guidelines, and highly relevant and engaging content created specifically for senior finance and accounting executives who have an urgent need to understand how sustainability issues are shaping the business environment of today and tomorrow, and value creation amongst firms.

    Capitals Coalition

    • Capitals Coalition - Valuing nature and people to inform business decision-making
      • “The course, ‘Valuing nature and people to inform business decision-making’, comes in response to increased demand from businesses and the finance sector for the knowledge and skills needed to apply natural capital assessments and a capitals approach more generally. The course will introduce individuals working in the private sector to the fundamental aspects of the capitals approach and provide guidance on where to start when adopting the approach within an organization. This course is introductory and no prior knowledge of natural, social, or human capital is required. The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the capitals approach and to undertaking a capitals assessment, and, while it is open to all, will be of specific relevance to those working across strategy, risk management, finance, procurement, accountancy, auditing, human resources and sustainability.”

    Global Reporting Initiative

    • GRI Academy (certification and courses)
      • “The GRI Academy is an online training platform that offers the GRI Professional Certification Program and a range of other courses on impact reporting relevant to sustainability professionals.” 

    Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

    • TCFD - Knowledge Hub - Online Courses
      • “The climate-related financial disclosure online courses are designed to help organisations fill the knowledge gap and enhance their disclosures of climate-related information. These courses are suitable for anyone interested in learning more about climate-related disclosure and the TCFD.”
  • Certificates and Designations

    Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

    • Certificate in Sustainability Finance
      • “As organisations are rebuilding from the pandemic, there is a growing desire for a transformative and sustainable global recovery. Accountants and finance professionals have an important part to play in helping organisations adapt as they adopt the sustainable practices required to prevent resource depletion, facilitate long term success, and build a more sustainable future. The Certificate in Sustainability for Finance, consisting of five courses covering 16 hours of learning, will allow finance teams to gain the skills and knowledge to enable them to confidently lead on sustainability issues in their organisations.”
    • Integrated Reporting Programme
      • “The business landscape is constantly evolving. New outlooks, new models and new technology are disrupting traditional approaches – at scale and at speed. Which means a company’s annual numbers are no longer enough to describe its situation or potential. Quite rightly, investors, markets and stakeholders want to know more. How does an organisation create value today? How will it unlock it in the future? Traditional corporate reporting is valuable – but it only shows part of the picture. Integrated reporting <IR> is a radical new approach to annual corporate reporting. But what does it actually mean, who's doing it, and what do you need to know to advise your business or your clients? Whether you’re looking for general awareness or are preparing integrated reports yourself, this certificate has everything you need to know about.”

    Circular Economy Alliance

    • “At the Circular Economy Alliance we aspire to accelerate the transition to Circular Economy through education, research, and an inclusive network of people willing to play an active role and cooperate together for a better, sustainable and peaceful future for generations to come. Our courses are created in collaboration with the Circular Economy Research Center (CERC), the EU’s leading Circular Economy research organization currently engaged in five EU Horizon 2020-funded projects.”

    Competent Boards

    • ESG Certificate Program and ESG Designation Program
      • “Get the insights that you need to provide oversight and foresight on environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. Our program will equip you with the tools and confidence that all board members, investors, and executives require to make effective decisions.”
    • Climate Certificate Program and Climate Designation Program
      • Learn how to navigate stakeholder expectations and ensure organizational resilience as you find out where and how to begin this journey to survive and thrive in a changing business environment. Our faculty of global experts on climate change will guide you every step of the way.

    CPA Australia

    • Micro-Credentials - Creating value through sustainability
      • “This stand-alone micro-credentialed course aims to provide learners with an understanding of the expectations and reporting requirements for sustainability, with a focus on the value that finance professionals can provide.”

    Global Reporting Initiative

    • GRI Academy (certification and courses)
      • “The GRI Academy is an online training platform that offers the GRI Professional Certification Program and a range of other courses on impact reporting relevant to sustainability professionals.” 

    IFRS Foundation (SASB Standards)

    Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

    • ICAEW Sustainability Certificate
      • Investors, alongside regulators, insurers, lenders, suppliers, customers, and employees are increasingly demanding information on how sustainability-related risks may impact on corporate and public sector performance and how they are being managed. This online certificate programme will equip professional accountants with the practical knowledge and skills to integrate sustainability performance metrics into risk management, financial planning and analysis, business decision making and ESG/sustainability reporting.”