CPA Canada continues to work in sustainability

CPA Canada is ramping up its support for the Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) through new professional development offerings related to sustainability.

As the landmark Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) celebrates its 10th anniversary, CPA Canada carries on the work started by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and Certified Management Accountants of Canada. Gord Beal, CPA Canada’s vice-president, research, guidance and support, attended the project’s annual forum in the United Kingdom on December 10, 2014.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales started A4S in 2004 to "help ensure that sustainability ... is not just talked and worried about, but becomes embedded in organizations’ ‘DNA.’"

Among its initiatives, A4S holds a biennial sustainability conference and formed the CFO Leadership Network to develop and share strategies. The A4S Accounting Bodies Network, of which CPA Canada is an active member, was created to support A4S’s projects. (Subscribe to updates at )

The Canadian angle

Canada’s accounting bodies have been involved in A4S since 2008. In addition to Beal, CPA Canada’s Todd Scaletta and Joy Thomas have participated in workshops and annual forums hosted by Prince Charles.

In 2010, the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC) emerged from A4S. Alan Willis, a member and longtime expert adviser to the CPA profession, was invited to join the IIRC Content Task Force and was on the IIRC Working Group until it was disbanded in 2014. Lisa French, formerly a legacy body employee, now works with the IIRC as technical director, guidance and practice.

"Sustainability integrates key competencies of the accounting profession. Prince Charles established A4S to challenge the profession, as leaders in business, to make a difference and help business change," says Beal. "It’s important we continue the work and demonstrate leadership in the area."

At home, CPA Canada is ramping up its professional development offering related to sustainability. In March 2014, it launched A Starter’s Guide to Sustainability Reporting, which advises businesses about starting sustainability reporting. It also provides guidelines, planning and best practices.

"Sustainability reporting is a major area, and there’s a big knowledge gap. We worked with sustainability reporting experts to help us develop the guide," says CPA Canada’s Pamela Campagnoni, CPA, CA, who led the project. "Feedback has been really positive."

The demand for knowledge is so strong that Campagnoni is working on a related project: a publication providing insight on sustainability reporting, integrated reporting and environmental, social and governance-related disclosures in US Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Two more sustainability reporting projects are in the works. For more information, contact

Forward thinking

Based in London, A4S works to:

  • demonstrate the business case for including sustainability in organizations’ operations
  • develop systems and tools to integrate measures of social well-being and environmental health into accounting, decision-making and reporting
  • create an enabling environment for change by shifting to sustainable capital markets and regulatory and reporting environments