Jeremy Nicholls is the Assurance Framework lead for the UNDP SDG Impact Standards. He is an ambassador for the Capitals Coalition (a global collaboration to integrate sustainability into business decision making), a member of Accounting for Sustainability’s Expert Panel and chairs the project team for ISO 37005, selecting, creating and using indicators for governing bodies.
He originally qualified as a chartered accountant, including time as the Finance Director for Tanzania Railways.
Assurance of sustainability reports is meant to tell us that the reporting has been done properly. Shouldn’t that question be answered from the perspective of the people most affected by an organisation’s actions?
Economic theory depends on accounting – yet it ignores the role of accounting in distributing value. Why does that matter? Because it limits the potential contribution of economics in resolving today's social and environmental crises.
Most companies’ sustainability reports still fail to capture what matters to the people who actually experience the impacts. Assurance can help us put them and their wellbeing high up on the agenda – and push us to keep improving.
PART 3: Figuring out what to include in a sustainability report means accepting higher thresholds for uncertainty. That’s confusing for the user and more difficult for the auditor, writes our columnist – but there is a way to make it work.
PART 2: Assurance and audit might not get your heart racing – but they're fundamental to investment. In the second in this four-part series, columnist Jeremy Nicholls explains what financial audit means for sustainability assurance.
PART 1: Assurance and audit might not get your heart racing – but they’re at the very heart of how profit-making firms can contribute to sustainability. Our columnist Jeremy Nicholls on why it’s time to fall in love with the nuts and bolts of business.
Company directors’ reliance on international accounting standards means sustainability issues are currently reported separately, if at all. But there are steps they can take to better meet their legal responsibilities, says our columnist.
The financial accounting system we use today is hurtling towards irrelevance, undermined by the very inequality to which it has contributed. It's time to change how profit is calculated – before it's too late.