New ESG resource launched by AICPA & CIMA

The new Fundamentals of ESG Certificate course, unveiled during an event in South Africa, can help those seeking to grow their ESG knowledge.
During an event earlier this month in Cape Town, South Africa, AICPA & CIMA launched a new resource for ESG learning.
During an event earlier this month in Cape Town, South Africa, AICPA & CIMA launched a new resource for ESG learning.

The growing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures in financial reporting, and the opportunity that growth presents to finance professionals, was the focus of an event in South Africa recently hosted by AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

The event, ESG: Implications on Business and Finance, brought together experts in sustainability and professionals looking to increase their understanding of a rapidly developing trend in financial reporting. An annual report that indexes Africa's financial markets found that nearly two-thirds of participating countries (17 of 26) had sustainability-focused policies in 2022, one year after just one-half of countries (12 of 23) reported the same.

At the event, AICPA & CIMA unveiled a valuable resource for those looking to capitalise on ESG's momentum in Africa and elsewhere. The Fundamentals of ESG Certificate is a nine-hour course that offers a grounding in the fundamental concepts of and the latest developments within the ESG field. Upon completion, certificate holders can display a digital badge on online profiles.

"The message from our panel is loud and clear: ESG is now a key business transformation topic, and we all have a responsibility to help our organisations create a more sustainable and equitable future," said Tariro Mutizwa, ACMA, CGMA, regional vice-president–Africa at AICPA & CIMA. "Africa boasts innumerable opportunities, it is home to natural resources ranging from arable land, water, natural gas, minerals, and forests. In addition, 60% of the continent's population is below the age of 25, and its workforce is rapidly growing.

"To effectively leverage these opportunities, Africa needs professionals with pertinent skills to address ESG concerns. Our new Fundamentals of ESG Certificate will help contribute towards this."

AICPA & CIMA are developing a detailed learning road map for ESG. As the first step on that journey, the Fundamentals of ESG Certificate programme will provide course takers with the ability to:

  • Identify the key aspects in each area of ESG;
  • Recognise the expectations of investors and the impact on business;
  • Assess the responsibility of businesses for key ESG issues;
  • Recognise the business case for implementing sustainable practices;
  • Identify the role of the accounting and auditing profession in sustainability; and
  • Recognise the current sustainability reporting frameworks and reporting requirements.

"The global business community is on the verge of momentous change in how companies address sustainability issues, and interest in ESG is reaching a tipping point. This will fuel demand for accounting and finance professionals equipped with the necessary skills to advise business leaders on the ESG opportunities and risks this presents to their organisations," said Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, chief executive–Management Accounting at AICPA & CIMA. "The new ESG certificate programme will help develop the skills of accountants and management accountants to serve the public interest and instil trust and integrity within the ESG field."

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