Indian leaders meet challenges of climate change and inequality, says accountancy chief

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The world’s leading accountancy body has praised Indian business for the strides it has made in making corporate responsibility a central part of commercial strategy in the country.

Orla Collins, the deputy president of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), said that business bosses are responding urgently to the twin threats of climate change and inequality in society.

‘I believe that businesses look at their role in society in a different way now than was the case in earlier times,’ Ms Collins told an online business audience at the Institute of Directors

India’s 15th International Conference in Corporate Social Responsibility and felicitation of the Golden Peacock Awards for Corporate Social Responsibility (Global & National) & HR Excellence (Virtual).

‘By that, I don’t mean to say that business leaders never cared about their place in society before. Far from it. But it is true to say that more than ever before, the sense that they have a duty of care to the communities where they trade, work and operate is now central to the strategic thinking of every successful business.’

Ms Collins was representing ACCA’s 233,000 members and 536,000 future members based in 178 countries at the event. She was speaking from her home in Dublin, Ireland.

She said: ‘The best strategy demands growth with a green element, because the long-term health and even survival of our planet is the greatest issue of our time, greater even than the threat of pandemic.

‘I believe that more businesses are placing a commitment to corporate social responsibility at the heart of their purpose for two reasons.

‘The first is moral. Business leaders, like everyone else, knows that the planet is in trouble, and they want to be a part of the solution not the problem.

‘The second is financial. They realise that people are increasingly reluctant to trade with, or work for, businesses which appear careless about their contribution to the community.

‘I believe that any business which craves a long-term future must embrace their responsibility to society as its licence to operate. Put simply, if they don’t, people won’t like them, and they won’t spend their money with them or work for them.’

Ms Collins urged the audience to join ACCA in backing the United Nations Strategic Development Goals, which aim to reverse rising global temperatures and tackle chronic equality by 2030.

‘I urge all of you here today to continue the work which I know is already happening across Indian business to make the change which the world needs.

‘It is not possible for everyone to do everything. But everyone can do something.’

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