PrimeGlobal launches practical ESG workbook for small to mid-sized accounting firms
Over the course of 2022, in all major jurisdictions, large organisations have been required to increase disclosures related to their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impact. The disclosures require them to report on their entire value chain. Small and medium sized businesses, who often supply large entities, will therefore be increasingly asked to demonstrate their own ESG credentials. Steve Heathcote, CEO, PrimeGlobal comments
ESG requirements are also now being proposed for smaller entities. These businesses will turn to their trusted accounting firms to help. However, often firms do not know how to get started with providing ESG support and lack confidence to take the first step. This is largely because ESG guidance has focused on the largest entities.
PrimeGlobal has taken the initiative to launch a new ‘how to’ workbook, "Let's Use Our Partnership to Create Better Business Models for a Better World", specially targeted at small and mid-sized accounting firms to help them embrace ESG and take positive steps to help their clients.
The workbook adopts the principles of the B Corp standards. Certified B Corporations are companies verified to meet high standards of social and environmental performance. B Corp is based on the belief that business can make a positive contribution to people, the environment and society without losing sight of the profit motive. B Corps include organisations such as Tony Chocolonely, Ben & Jerry’s, Pantagonia and the Body Shop. The B Corp standard focuses on an organisations impact over five areas: its mission/vision, employees, society, environment, and customers. Any organisation, including accounting firms, can complete a free B Corp assessment to determine where they currently stand (available at www.app.bimpactassessment.net). It is a great way to get started, providing a baseline that can then be improved over time.
The PrimeGlobal workbook explains each of the five B Corp components, and provides examples, case studies and practical exercises. The workbook was created in collaboration with Mark de Lat from PrimeGlobal member firm Eshuis Accountants en Adviseurs (who are B Corp certified) and Aldo van Duivenboden from the Conscious Business, Lab part of the Saxion University of Applied Science. They are both based in the Netherlands. It features case studies from PrimeGlobal member firms from around the world who are leading the way in championing sustainability including firms from France, the US, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK.
All image credit: PrimeGlobal
Show empathy and build trust
The workbook was launched at PrimeGlobal’s Insights Congress in November 2022 in Amsterdam by Marcello Palazzi, founder of B Corp in Europe. Palazzi commented, “The tapestry of additional threads in measuring and accounting is wide, including treating Human Resources as assets on the balance sheet rather than cost in the income statement. As others have said: “Accountants can save the World!". At a time when many voices are asking for business to step up to the needed transformation towards a regenerative economy, this book is a relatively quick way to become familiar with B Corps, paving the way for the required practice that each will master when completing the B Corp Impact Assessment.”
De Lat’s story of how Eshusis became B Corp certified has inspired many other firms to start the B Corp journey. He says, “It is my dream that I can help PrimeGlobal firms build an international platform of impactful accountants that will save humanity, because the earth can do better without us, than us without the earth. The impactful accountants that work in PrimeGlobal member firms can help their clients realise better business models for a better world.”
The goal of this book is to inspire our member firms to embrace sustainability within their firms and to give them confidence, learning and the capability to proactively provide the sustainability services their clients, and the world, need. PrimeGlobal has an increasing number of firms who have started the B Corp journey after completing their initial assessment. A community group has been established so firms can support each other as they take action to meet the standards. An expert ESG group, comprised of firms leading the way, is also in place within PrimeGlobal to provide support and guidance to firms. As ESG opportunities emerge firms will work together to meet clients' needs. A firm may not have in-house ESG experts, however, they will be able to access experts throughout the association.
This is a huge opportunity for the entire profession, that has the potential to reinvent the perception of accountants. We will move from being seen as bean counters to sustainable bean growers. It is important we all work together to show that accounting firms are ready to support businesses of all sizes with ESG. To achieve this, we all need to think beyond our own associations, networks, or accounting bodies. We need to create a broad community of firms and professionals who will share ESG practices, motivate each other, and champion change - we will go further sustainably together. If you are inspired and would like to find out more, please do contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CEO & President