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January 17, 2021 06:56 AM

A flawed conceptual framework for climate disclosure and other nonsense

Posted by Carol Adams

During 2020 a number of reports were published by organisations promoting a 'solution' for 'sustainability reporting' amid 'concern' about about a proliferation of bodies setting standards and frameworks. The proliferation of frameworks and standards led to a proliferation of bodies claiming their purpose was to harmonise - not without self interest, of course.  I wrote some short articles with my observations on these developments to both engage in the debate and increase my knowledge of them so I could discuss them with my students.  As future accountants they will be providing a much broader range of information to inform decisions than the accountants of today.  

Most recently, at the end of 2020 various organisations jointly released a 'protoype' climate-related financial disclosure standard cobbled together in some haste from existing offerings. Whilst anyone familiar with Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), integrated reporting and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards is likely to be favourably disposed to the proposed reporting requirements, the conceptual framework underpinning them is flawed. It is not translatable to the range of sustainable development issues that companies, their investors and national governments are concerned about. In stitching together bits of existing frameworks and standards, this prototype complicates, rather than simplifies.  And it brings in new jargon. You can read my concise critque of the prototype at:

A prototype climate disclosure standard with a flawed conceptual framework Responsible Investor, 14th January, 2021

And here are some additional articles on matters relevant to the accountants of today and tomorrow (I'm sure you'll easily find plenty of others with opposing views):

Sustainable development is too important for self-interest and political posturing Responsible Investor, 14th December 2020

Accountants can help meet the Sustainable Development Goals CIMA, 25th October 2020

The 'Statement of Intent': proposing a different approach 27th September 2020

A response to the WEF and Big 4 26th September 2020

Accountability for neurodiversity at work The Conversation 24th September 2020

Europe needs mandatory non-financial reporting to underpin COVID recovery, Euractive, 13th May 2020

Investors are asking the wrong questions on sustainability Financial Times, 23rd January 2020

Additional articles and recordings of panel discussions and interviews that have been handy for online teaching are posted here.  

 

 

 

 

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About Carol Adams

Durham University and Swinburne University
Professor of Accounting; Editor, Sustainability Accounting, Management & Policy Journal

See www.drcaroladams.net

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