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Sustainability Accounting Overview and How-To

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Before starting this self study program, please go through the instructional document.


  • Who Cares About Sustainability Accounting and Why
    10 mins
  • Sustainable Development Goals and Topics
    10 mins
  • Sustainability in Financial Statements
    10 mins
  • Guidance from Accounting Associations
    30 mins
  • Finding Metrics That Matter
    20 mins
  • Implementation Cycle - Restaurants
    25 mins
  • Leadership for Sustainability
    10 mins
  • Resources
    5 mins

Course Description

Sustainability Accounting is now a recognized professional skill of increasing importance in larger organizations. It is the process of finding, measuring and managing the material metrics for sustainable performance and risk management. The goal is to bring these metrics into regular financial statements so leaders can act on them.  Over 90% of the Fortune 500 corporations are using sustainability accounting now, and the Big 4 accounting firms have recently (Oct 2020) announced a joint program to develop uniform sustainability accounting standards. They are following the path of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) which has already published detailed metrics for 77 industry sectors. The AICPA has created a standard for Attestation Engagements for Sustainability Reporting.  The International Federation of Accountants has published detailed implementation guidance (IFAC 2015: Sustainability Framework 2.0: Professional Accountants as Integrators).   

This course covers the origins of Sustainability Accounting, the published guidance from accounting associations, the roles of the major actors, and a practical implementation approach. Upon completion you will know how to help your organization and clients improve their performance and reduce risk and be a sustainability leader. This course does not have any background requirements and is suitable for any professional. It was developed with the Washington Association of CPAs. Over 350 CPAs have taken this course with WSCPA and given it 5-star reviews.

Learning Objectives

  • To explain the origins of Sustainability Accounting and the major actors today.
  • To demonstrate how sustainability metrics can be presented in financial statements.
  • To find the sector-specific metrics for a client.
  • To integrate sustainability management into annual financial and public reporting.

Who Should Attend?

  • Accountant
  • Activist
  • Business Student
  • Business Teacher
  • CFO/Controller
  • Economic Development Manager
  • Environmental Manager
  • Facility Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Journalist
  • Management Consultant
  • Operations Manager
  • Policy Maker
  • Risk Managers
  • Sustainability Manager