CICA provides governance advice for boards on environmental and social matters

TORONTO, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - A new publication by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) outlines for board directors the business impacts and governance challenges associated with environmental and social issues.

"Ongoing board vigilance is essential," says Gigi Dawe, principal, risk oversight and governance, CICA.  "When informed boards ask the right questions, it can make a difference."

The publication titled Sustainability: Environmental and Social Issues Briefing was commissioned by the CICA's Risk Oversight and Governance Board and co-authored by two chartered accountants:  Julie Desjardins and Alan Willis.

Environmental and social issues are increasingly impacting the bottom line and future prospects of companies in many industries according to the authors.  Those issues present both opportunities and risks and can have important implications for strategy, competitiveness, risk management, stakeholder relations and business resilience.

"In addition to highlighting issues and potential business implications, the publication offers questions that directors might ask in discharging their oversight responsibilities," says Desjardins.

The publication notes that mainstream institutional investors are expressing a growing interest in the impact of environmental and social issues on company performance and prospects, and in board governance regarding such issues. Factors that companies may need to consider include water scarcity and quality, climate change, energy, food safety and production, human rights, corruption and the regulatory landscape.

"Directors concerned about a company's long term success and competitiveness are paying careful attention to how management is integrating key environmental and social issues into strategy and risk and in building important stakeholder relationships," says Willis.

The CICA publication is available online (

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are Canada's most valued, internationally recognized profession of leaders in senior management, advisory, financial, tax and assurance roles. Through their integrity, expertise, and internationally recognized qualification standards, Canada's 78,000 CAs sustain their influence and leadership position both in Canada and globally.  As trusted business advisors to Canadian organizations of all sizes, Canada's CAs foster confidence in Canadian business and contribute to the health and sustainability of Canada's capital markets and economy.  The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) represents Canada's CA profession both nationally and internationally.  The CICA is a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).

SOURCE Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

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