Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Holistic Sustainability in Public Sector

Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO of Accountancy Europe opened with a reminder to the participants: “There will be no sustainability transition without the public sector taking the lead.” His remarks set the tone for the event. 

Laura Leka & Cecile Bonino, The Public Sector Needs a Holistic Approach to Sustainability, International Federation of Accountants, 25 April 2023

Progressing sustainable development goals, including those related to climate change, requires urgent public sector action. Yet, as of now, no internationally recognized public sector reporting framework exists to help governments measure and report how they are addressing the global climate emergency and other sustainability challenges. With its public sector standard setting expertise and with the support of the international community, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) is looking into how it might change that.

Ian Carruthers, Chair of the IPSASB, presented the main features of IPSASB’s sustainability reporting project. He noted: “The feedback we’ve received from stakeholders around the world is clear: the public sector needs its own specific sustainability reporting framework and the IPSASB should lead its development. The IPSASB has now developed a framework to guide this first critical phase of research and scoping.” Using the infographic below, Carruthers explained the framework used to scope public sector sustainability reporting.

To raise awareness on IPSASB’s next steps to advance public sector sustainability reporting and engage global stakeholders, IPSASB, IFAC and Accountancy Europe hosted a well-attended hybrid event in Brussels which discussed the key ideas the IPSASB is exploring. The event was also a discussion about the resources necessary to deliver the urgently needed public sector reporting guidance. In addition to the 100+ participants in the room, the event also attracted over 700 virtual registrants across more than 130 jurisdictions.

Take in our highlights of the event below and watch the full recording to dive deeper into the discussion.

Maria-Rosa Aldea Busquets, Deputy Director General of DG Budget at the European Commission said: “The green transition is a top priority for the European Commission, and we are investing in reporting to ensure also transparency and accountability in this domain. However, I have to admit that it is not an easy topic. Sustainability reporting in public sector is facing three particular constraints: it’s a very broad scope; the multitude of actors implementing the public budgets; and finding the right balance while imposing reporting burden on these actors. It is however essential to report on a transparent and reliable way on how much we dedicate to sustainability relevant topics, and what is the impact of this financing.

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