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CPA : CPA Sustainability Report 2009
6 | CPA Australia Sustainability Report 2009 Profession Financial implications and other risks and opportunities for the organisation's activities due to climate change (EC2) Public policy positions and participation in public policy development and lobbying (SO5) Risks and opportunities for CPA Australia due to climate change (EC2) CPA Australia regards climate change as a key social, environmental and economic issue, and the objective of our climate change activities is to make a contribution towards a responsible and sustainable society. We are committed to assisting our members, as resource managers, help find long-term solutions to climate change and to making a positive contribution ourselves. Climate change is relevant to CPA Australia in its dual role as an international professional accounting body and as a continuing business entity. During the process of compiling last year's sustainability report, it was identified as an issue that CPA Australia would consider and report upon in 2009. The approach to climate change that we have developed is commensurate with our internal capacity and capability. CPA Australia does not significantly pollute air, land or water, and does not engage in primary production, extractive industries or construction. We are engaged in the tertiary industry sector through the provision of technical and continuing educational services. We occupy leased and owned buildings in cities in Australia and internationally. From a risk management perspective, we are mindful of the potential dangers of misrepresentation. We have taken up the position of an honest broker -- a facilitator of knowledge pertaining to climate change - and not as a social commentator. Our approach can be summarised as follows: As an international accounting body, we + encourage and assist members to help their clients or their companies to contribute to sustainability; and + support developments within the accounting profession that encourage others to embrace sustainability. For our approach to climate change as a continuing business entity, see page 10. CPA Australia is working to address the knowledge needs of members regarding sustainability and CSR by developing a range of resources. These resources include providing members with access to networks of peers to encourage discussion around the specific challenges and solutions experienced in their own organisations, with the intent that they can support, collaborate and build their knowledge together. This combination of formal and informal learning is intended to help position CPAs as leaders in the profession and to have access to the broadest range of knowledge and experience possible. The following examples illustrate how we have done this: Sustainability and Carbon Reporting Community A virtual community is a term used to describe a group of people with a common interest who come together online to share and collaborate. Such a community can use a range of online 'web2.0' tools including member profiles, discussion forums and a wiki. This virtual community, established in 2009, has 53 members. It aims to provide CPA Australia members with responsibility for or an interest in creating and managing sustainability or carbon reporting with opportunities to: + network + increase their knowledge and understanding of issues and challenges + share the content presented at CSR discussion groups around the world + continue discussing issues raised in professional development events or discussion groups. Promoting ESG principles through training and development We believe, particularly in light of the global financial crisis, that accountants and the accounting profession can play an important role in the formulation and implementation of sustainability principles in business and public policy. CPA Australia has been encouraging understanding and take-up of sustainability principles in a number of ways, for example: + Reassessing these principles in CPA Program and embedding them across six of the professional level education segments. By doing so we aimed to instil the importance of considering sustainability in all aspects of accounting and discourage it from being seen as a stand alone topic + Commissioning third party research into sustainability reporting and awareness by employers and members in Australia, New Zealand, Greater China, Singapore and Malaysia to help us determine how best to address their training and development needs. Employers felt they were better at sustainability practices than at sustainability reporting + Running the Business Imperatives of Climate Change conference in Melbourne and Sydney for a second time. Watch the presentation of the Secretary of the Australian Department of Climate Change, Dr Martin Parkinson, on our website + Establishing member discussion groups on carbon emissions/reporting in Brisbane and Sydney + Holding 85 continuing professional development (CPD) sessions on topics related to climate change that were attended by almost 5,000 members across Australia. Resources for members and the wider community CPA Australia's website was upgraded in 2009. The new website, launched in February 2010, includes an ESG portal where documentation such as submissions and research papers is easily accessible. Currently, CPA Australia has a suite of publications that have been developed over a number of years. The resources added in 2009 include: + Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme: A brief overview + CPRS and the impairment of electricity generating assets + China's policies and actions for addressing climate change + Assistance for Emissions Intensive Trade Exposed Australian businesses + The economics of climate change mitigation. www.cpaaustralia.com.au/climatetoolkit