Sustainability-related disclosure in public sector should be of high quality: Speakers
Sustainability-related disclosure in the public sector should be of high quality and usable for decision making, said speakers at an international conference.
They also said it should be subject to effective audit and assurance arrangements to help build public trust.
Experts came up with these observations at an international conference on "Accountability & Sustainability: Implementation Progress" jointly organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB), Dhaka Stock Exchange Ltd and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand held today at the ICAB Auditorium in the capital, said a press release.
In audit and assurance arrangements, the regulations to address sustainability concerns are IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards like IFRS S1: General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information; and IFRS S2: Climate-related Disclosures.
The empirical evidence on sustainability practices is directly linked to the reduction cost of capital, national commitment and development.
The government of Bangladesh is committed to achieve the SDGs by 2031. So, accountability and transparency in managing risks and investments are the sine quo none for the implementation of SDGs.
Shamsul Alam, former State Minister for Planning, graced the ceremony as the chief guest. Dr. Md. Khairuzzaman Mozumder, Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, spoke as the special guest.
Prof Hafiz Md. Hasan Babu, chairman, Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) Ltd was present as the guest of honour. ICAB president Md. Moniruzaman delivered the address of welcome while ICAB CEO Shubhashish Bose made the introductory remarks.
Yinka Moses, CA, CPA (Aust), academic programme leader, Wellington School of Business and Government, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand presented the keynote paper.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Alam said that political accountability plays an important role in economic development. "Bangladesh is well ahead of other countries in South Asia like India and Pakistan in achieving the SDGs and ranked 101st of 191 countries. We need to continue the progress and upgrade the rank further," he added.
He said, "We should ensure accountability for sustainable development. Chartered accountants play an important role in ensuring accountability in the private sector. For the sake of the country, they will continue to perform their duties properly," he hoped.
Dr. Yinka Moses in his presentation said that sustainability reporting can be described as 'The practice of an organisation reporting on its impact on sustainable development'.
It includes not only environmental considerations, but also the social and economic impacts of human activities. Accountability entails transparency in managing risks and investments including providing honest reckoning for both positive and adverse business activities, he added.
ICAB president Md. Moniruzzaman said that accountancy profession is best positioned to lead sustainability reporting and assurance. "Professionals working in financial accounting, reporting, internal and external audit can all apply their expertise to this agenda," he said.
Dr. Md. Khairuzzaman Mozumder, Secretary, Finance Division, said that many organisations are starting sustainability reporting journeys while there is an opportunity for finance, accountancy and audit professionals to demonstrate leadership and drive this agenda forward.
"Their knowledge and experience of reporting processes, systems and controls, regulatory compliance, adherence to standards and, in the case of auditors, internal and external assurance, are vital in establishing and embedding sustainability reporting and assurance in the public sector. It's time for finance and audit professionals to take the lead on the sustainability reporting and assurance agenda." he added.
Presenting a video on how the government is taking initiatives to attain SDGs, Professor Dr. Hafiz Md. Hasan Babu said that sustainability reporting must be appropriate to the size and scope of the organisation and comprehensive enough to reflect the needs of the wide range of stakeholders representing the public interest.
ICAB CEO Shubhashish Bose said that the goal of sustainability reporting and assurance would excel the progress towards sustainable development. "Ultimately, the sustainability disclosures reporting must provide useful information that can form a basis for decision-making." He added.