EY, CIMA and ICAEW stand up for kindness and fairnessby
EY, CIMA and the ICAEW have signed a letter coordinated by the UN Global Compact Network UK and UKSSD, urging the Prime Minister for a socially just and green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday 9 June 150 leading businesses and organisations wrote to the Prime Minister urging the government to put fairness and kindness at the heart of our national and international Covid-19 recovery plans.
The letter is addressed to the UK Prime Minister but, in reality, it is to every politician in every country. Its signatories called for kindness and fairness in the form of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the ‘SDGs’ or ‘Global Goals’) – which are neatly summarised in this three-minute video featuring hundreds of famous people.
Personally, I find it shocking (and saddening) that only one accounting firm, EY, has put its head above the parapet in the letter. However, many accountants do support it, and both the ICAEW and CIMA were among the 150 initial signatories.
In fact, ICAEW CEO Michael Izza went on record when signing to say:
"The Sustainable Development Goals are an important framework to ensure governments and businesses are pursuing the long-term public interest, so we hope the Prime Minister will use them as a foundation for the UK's post-Covid recovery plans. As chartered accountants, we think it's vital businesses look beyond profit and have a wider social purpose, and we're pleased to have so many organisations join our call to government to put these goals front and centre." – Michael Izza, CEO of the ICAEW
Three reasons why this is vital for accountants
ICAEW, CIMA, EY and the other 150 signatories are spot-on, because creating a better future based on the Global Goals is clearly the right thing to do for the accounting profession. Clearly the right thing to do for our clients. And clearly the right thing to do for humanity.
It is clearly the right thing to do for the accounting profession because it creates huge opportunities to develop new reporting, assurance and consulting services focussing on the impact businesses have on the world.
It is also the right thing to do for the businesses we and our clients run because there is a large and rapidly growing body of evidence that ‘doing good’ is also really good for business. For example:
- PwC found that 78% of people are more likely to buy from businesses that have signed up to the Global Goals
- Nielsen, one of the world’s largest research organisations, found that brands with a commitment to sustainability grow four times faster
- A major economic study found that the Global Goals will unlock at least $12 trillion of cost savings and extra revenues for those who embrace them
And supporting the Global Goals is also self-evidently the right thing to do for humanity, for our families, for the generations to come, for the planet and for us all.
After all, eradicating extreme poverty, preventing people starving to death, and giving every child access to education, medical care and justice is only fair, isn’t it?
And keeping the planet healthy so we all stay healthy is only sensible, isn’t it?
Time to stand up and be counted
EY, CIMA and the ICAEW have taken a noble stand. But what about the rest of us? We all have responsibilities, as well as rights. Surely it is our job as a profession to play a leadership role – to inspire and to do the right thing?
If you want to play your part in making the world a better place for us all, then the best (and easiest) first step is to add your voice to the letter to the Prime Minister by signing the supporting petition. It won’t fix everything, but it is a really good first step.
Once you have done that, the next steps include:
- Inviting your team, clients and families to add their voices to yours by also signing the petition
- Exploring the ICAEW’s Global Goals Hub to see what else they recommend
- Learning from the people behind the Global Goals
As professionals, as leaders, and as human beings, this really is our time to rise.
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