The International Integrated Reporting Council and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland have published a new report describing how businesses can achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The report, produced in partnership with the Green Economy Coalition, was written by professor Carol Adams of Durham University Business School in Durham, England. The report aims to help organizations improve their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, a set of goals promulgated by the United Nations in 2015 as part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, while reducing corporate risk and increasing opportunities that arise from sustainable development issues.

The report focuses on the concept of six capitals, a fundamental feature of integrated reporting. Adams describes how organizations can make a material contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, and clarify how they can alleviate any negative effects. The International Integrated Reporting Framework encourages businesses to consider their stewardship of relationships and resources, and understand the trade-offs they make. This report describes how the <IR> Framework can support a business’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

“I believe that businesses that commit to the SDGs will be helping to ensure the stability and sustainable development of their own business,” said IIRC CEO Richard Howitt in a statement. “The IIRC’s vision includes sustainable development at its heart and so we believe it is timely to demonstrate how <IR> can be harnessed by those organizations whose strategy is to align to the SDGs. We hope that this report will play a role in helping organizations to apply integrated thinking, considering value creation from the point of view of strategy and the business model.”

ICAS sees a role for accountants to play in helping organizations reach such goals. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals represent the means by which business, governments and civil society can achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda for the benefit of all,” said ICAS head of sustainability and assurance at ICAS Anne Adrain in a statement. “ICAS recognizes the significance of the role that accountants will play in helping organizations to measure and report on their achievements and progress towards this objective.”

The report was unveiled the same week as the United Nations convened its annual General Assembly in New York, bringing together world leaders to discuss issues such as the Paris Climate Agreement.

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.