The role of the profession in tackling the global goals for sustainable development

May 25, 2017

Irish Chartered Accountants discussed the role of the profession in supporting the UN Global Goals in London this week, as part of a Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) event. 

Welcoming participants to the debate, Institute CEO and CAW Chairman Pat Costello gave an overview of the work that CAW does bringing together the 11 leading Chartered bodies from around the world.

In 2015 the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This included 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development with   the principle that no one will be left behind. 

The Goals were developed over two years by an open working group, with representatives from over 70 countries. The consultation on the Goals was the largest to date in the UN’s history and reached over 8 million individuals. The vision the Goals paint of the world we want by 2030 is hugely ambitious and very different from the world we know today. 

The Event

Michael Izza ICAEW, CEO addressed the group on the goals and highlighted how they are the vision of what the world wants by 2030. The goals are framed by values of fairness, justice and inclusivity. The vision is one of economic prosperity, which speaks to ICAEW's vision of a world of strong economies.

Richard Spencer and Francesca Sharp of ICAEW’s sustainability team facilitated the session and introduced the UN Global Goals and why they matter for the accountancy profession.

The audience of over 80 Chartered Accountants were split into groups of 8 and each group  was asked to discuss which of the Goals they found most related to them personally and then the accountancy profession, followed by a discussion on how they are all connected.

Some tables focused on economic growth, while others felt quality education should be the focus for the profession.

The key takeaway question was “How can we as CAW reach more accountants and therefore more businesses to start embedding the Goals?”

Photos of the event are available at:

So what’s the role for the accountancy profession?

The profession has a history of coming together to serve the public interest by creating public goods in the form of common bases of measurement, reporting and assurance.

As countries measure progress on the goals statistically, and business measures progress using accounting tools, the accountancy profession will have a substantial role in aligning these systems of measurement.

Understanding the Goals’ interconnectivity and measuring progress will require huge amounts of data which will need to be trusted. The profession is at the forefront of applying new technology in information gathering, processing and assuring.

Strong local institutions, including those that make up the accountancy profession will be essential to achieve the goals.

Find out more information at: 

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