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CPA : CPA Sustainability Report 2009
CPA Australia Sustainability Report 2009 | 7 CPA Australia's public policy positions and participation in public policy development and lobbying (SO5) As part of CPA Australia's own corporate plan - and as one of the objects of the organisation - CPA Australia regularly develops policy positions on matters of concern to members and the accounting profession. Our core consideration in the formulation of policy positions is the objective of sustainable economic growth. CPA Australia has two business units and various member groups dedicated to policy development, as well as a cross-functional Business Sustainability Group which meets weekly to help develop and communicate our public policy and regulatory positions. The main channels through which CPA Australia participates in public policy development are submissions, policy statements and direct representation to governments, their agencies and international standard setting bodies. We participate individually and as part of Australia's Joint Accounting Bodies and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). CPA Australia has public policy positions on many issues relevant to members and the broader community including: + Corporate social responsibility and corporate disclosure + Fair value accounting + Australian business tax reform + Directors' duties and responsibilities under Australian corporate law + Accounting for carbon and assuring such data. Details of our significant public policy positions can be found at: www.cpaaustralia.com.au/ leadership Advocacy is an important part of our day-to- day activities. Members and staff undertaking advocacy activities ensure members' views are heard at the highest levels through maintaining effective relationships with governments and oppositions in all our main markets. Core public policy on sustainability Our core position is that the uptake of sustainability reporting as a basis for stakeholder engagement, risk management and continuous improvement should be actively promoted. This sustainability report is an example of this position, as are the following submissions made by CPA Australia: + The audit and auditor registration requirements of Australia's National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 and supporting regulations + The verification of carbon footprint calculations in the proposed Australian Carbon Offset Standard + Submission on the exposure draft legislation of Australia's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Our policy position was also strongly reflected in a letter from the IFAC to the Group of Twenty (G20) (see http://web.ifac.org/download/ IFAC_Submission_G20_Sept24_Meeting. pdf). Academic research In addition to member input, research influences much of our policy positions, particularly in the area of sustainability. CPA Australia has been involved in supporting academic research in the area of sustainability for a considerable period of time. For example, we are supporting research by the University of Sydney on the role of Accountants and Accounting in Improved Sustainability Management and Reporting. The following pieces of research will be finalised and published in first six months of 2010: + Trends in service providers and standards for the assurance of sustainability reports. + Water usage disclosures amongst large industrial companies. + Development in non-standard forms of stakeholder engagement and reporting. + The role of accountants and accounting in improving sustainability management and reporting. Partnerships CPA Australia is looking to establish global partnerships to ensure we continue to improve our knowledge, demonstrate thought leadership in sustainability issues in accounting and business and have platforms on which to express our views We collaborate extensively, and almost daily, with the St James Ethics Centre (SJEC); have become a member of the United Nations Global Compact (www.unglobalcompact. org/) and have weekly exchanges with the accounting bodies network that is part of Accounting for Sustainability (http://www. accountingforsustainability.org/home/) in the UK. These new relationships augment our ongoing involvement with the GRI as an organisational stakeholder and as a contributor to the GRI's Australian hub at the SJEC. Looking to the future Significant amongst the Australian domestic trends shaping the future role of accountants is the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts' (DEWHA) project Sustainability in the Key Professions: Skills for the New Economy. Accounting has been chosen as the first profession for consideration as part of this major national initiative, which will not only define sustainability based professional skills but further influence the spectrum of accounting education. The responsibility of professional accounting associations in this field is also gaining international prominence. The UK's Accounting for Sustainability, as the pre-eminent grouping of international accounting associations dealing with sustainability, has as one of its core principles to "Incorporate accounting for sustainability within professional education and training." Through our involvement in these initiatives, CPA Australia seeks to play a major role in ensuring that accountants remain leaders in such critical areas of business as corporate disclosure, resource allocation, assurance and business information systems.