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Sustainability: embedding it in organizations' DNA.

SUSTAINABILITY IS A COMPLEX and global issue involving a wide variety of organizations (government, regulators, businesses, nongovernmental agencies, investors, professional bodies, etc). These various organizations often have conflicting views on how to best address sustainability issues.

However, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, who has been a longtime environmentalist and through his Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), has been able to bring together a diverse group of key stakeholders to discuss and determine an optimal way for organizations to properly account for the environment.

CMA Canada was among the invited guests from across the globe for an event hosted by Prince Charles at his London residence (St. James Castle). At this event, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales explained that the purpose is "to help ensure that we are not battling to meet 21st century challenges with, at best, 20th century decision making and reporting systems." The book Accounting for Sustainability presents a series of case studies that provide practical insights on how leading private and public sector organizations applied the guidance developed by his Accounting for Sustainability Project.

With leading minds from organizations around the world around one table, this brings together different points of view, and not just from an accounting perspective. Representing CMA Canada, I participated in the discussions on some of the challenges and benefits to developing an integrated reporting framework for organizations. There is not a simple solution, but in this forum, businesses, professional bodies, regulators, investors and non-governmental agencies are working together to understand each others' perspectives to develop a best practice for an integrated reporting framework.

CMA Canada is also involved in two other strategic alliances including working with the Consortium for Advanced Management-International (CAM-I) to develop a deeper understanding on how performance management techniques, such as activity-based costing, target costing and process-based management can be adapted to incorporate a sustainability perspective and assist organizations in improving their overall performance. As well, CMA Canada is working collaboratively with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (USD) on understanding the challenges on a global basis for a public sector perspective. CMA Canada is proud to be part of all these projects that are still at the embryonic stages. Right now, we have more questions than answers, but it's a journey we are helping to map.

Todd Scaletta, FCMA, is the vice-president of research and innovation, CMA Canada.
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Title Annotation:VIEWPOINT
Author:Scaletta, Todd
Publication:CMA Magazine (Mississauga)
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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