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Episode 5: Applying CPA skills to sustainable development

After a long career as a financial auditor, Janique Lambert is now focusing on environmental protection by conducting sustainable development performance audits. She believes that CPAs can use their expertise to change society. (French only)

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In this first French episode of the second season of the podcast, host Jean-Sébastien Marier speaks with CPA and Quebec’s Sustainable Development Commissioner, Janique Lambert. After several years in financial auditing, Lambert chose to devote her career to performance auditing at the Office of the Auditor General of Quebec.

As part of exploring the future of the CPA profession, the host and guest discuss the importance of multidisciplinary teams, the uniqueness and scope of the position of Sustainable Development Commissioner, and whether the private sector is open to creating auditor positions for the environment and sustainable development.

View transcript

In this episode

  • The role of Sustainable Development Commissioner is defined by the Auditor General Act, which essentially requires the commissioner to produce an annual report on the application of the Sustainable Development Act and on the Electrification and Climate Change Fund. (01:36)
  • The Office of the Auditor General of Quebec handles a wide variety of mandates on a wide range of subjects, from water management, to agricultural production, to mine planning in Quebec and food labelling. (02:36)
  • Ms. Lambert describes her unique career path. After three years with Ernst & Young, she moved into legislative auditing by joining the Office of the Auditor General, where she first worked in financial auditing and then went on to become a director and finally Sustainable Development Commissioner. (04:59)
  • For sustainable development audits, having a diverse team of members with a variety of expertise and professional backgrounds is key to producing the best possible analysis reports. (07:10)
  • The big difference between the more traditional financial audit and the performance audit is that the performance audit requires more comfort with starting from scratch; since there is no report from the previous year, you are always starting with a blank slate. (09:55)
  • At the provincial level, the position of Sustainable Development Commissioner in Quebec is specifically focused on sustainable development mandates, while similar positions at the federal level and in other provinces focus more on environmental mandates. (12:14)
  • The improvement of public administration through the work of the Sustainable Development Commissioner, along with pressure from consumers and investors, will invariably influence the private sector and force it to be more accountable for its management of sustainable development and to review its practices and reporting procedures. (14:56)
  • For some years now, several firms and large organizations have been committed to the standardization of ESG, but we now recognize a need to regulate and create a framework for the relevant information so that analyses can be compared from one company to another. (17:05)

Key takeaways

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect those of CPA Canada.