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Traditional economic models unsustainable”, says ACCA in a report about China and the green economy


13 Nov 2012


Euro & Finance

The accountancy profession must play a role in developing strategies and solutions to help in China’s sustainability transformation


An urgent world-wide effort is needed to address the many environmental problems that have arisen due to global economic growth from traditional economic models, says Helen Brand, the Chief Executive of ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in her introduction to a new discussion paper called The green economy: pushes and pulls on corporate China.


ACCA commissioned the Hong Kong-based think-tank Civic Exchange to conduct research about China and the green economy. The result is a wide-ranging paper which examines how an increased focus on environmental and social performance, at international and national levels, is affecting corporations and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China and Hong Kong.


Helen Brand says: “While this paper looks at China and Hong Kong, it has impactful insights for a global audience too. China has become a major driver of global growth, and its path to achieving sustainability is crucial for all.


“There is also a growing demand for Chinese companies, international companies operating in China, and the global supply chains in which China plays such a central role, to disclose information about their businesses to investors, consumers and other stakeholders. There is a clear role for accountancy and other financial professionals to bring greater clarity to this necessary process, and for the accountancy profession to play a part in developing strategies and solutions that will help in China’s sustainability transformation.”


The paper explores the many factors that businesses need to consider – from government policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions or pollution levels, demands from customers based outside of the country to improve labour conditions in factories, or calls from investors for greater disclosure on environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics.


In a chapter authored by PwC, the paper also highlights how accountants are able to help companies address the various risks and opportunities presented by this change.

Rachel Jackson, head of sustainability at ACCA commissioned the report and adds: “In many economies – not just China - economic growth has meant environmental degradation, so a main challenge for us all is designing tangible and measurable ways to reconcile economic and manufacturing expansion with sustainability and environmental net positive considerations – whereby we leave the environment in an improved state.


“On a global level, sustainability will not be achieved without broader and deeper forms of accountability– and this is where the accountancy profession comes in.  Accountability needs new forms of transparency and stakeholder engagement.”


The greening of the Chinese and Hong Kong economies was discussed in Hong Kong and Beijing as part of at ACCA’s week-long Accounting for the Future Global Virtual Conference.




For more information, please contact:

Alana Sinnen, ACCA Newsroom

+ 44 (0) 207 059 5807

+44 (0) 7715 812120

Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom

+44 (0)20 7059 5759

+44 (0)7725 498654


Notes to Editors


1.       ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

2.       We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

3.       Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.




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