FEE (Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens – Federation of European Accountants) represents 43 professional Institutes of accountants and auditors from 32 European countries, including all of the EU Member States. FEE prepared a series of discussion papers on sustainability assurance, e.g. the Discussion Paper “Key Issues in Sustainability Assurance – An overview” issued in June 2006 followed by a successful roundtable discussion in November 2006.
Since 1994, Dr. Christine Jasch is delegate of the Austrian Chamber of accountants and auditors to the Sustainability Group of FEE, which deals with the integration of environmental and sustainability aspects into traditional financial accounting, auditing and reporting.
More information at www.fee.be, www.kwt.or.at
Goal of the project is to develop a guideline to assist large incorporated companies in preparing their annual reports. In addition to monetary performance indicators the Modernization directive requires, that “The annual report shall include a fair review of the development and performance of the business ..., together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties. To the extend necessary for an understanding of a corporations development, performance or position, the analysis shall include both financial and, where appropriate, non-financial key performance indicators relevant to the particular business, including information relating to environmental and employee matters.” .“ (see Art. 2 Abs 10 of Directive 2003/51/EG )The guideline will initiate a process to highlight significant issues and performance indicators for Austrian corporations. In order to increase relevance also for Austrian Small and Medium Sized Companies, the issues and performance indicators will be partly developed on a sector specific basis. It is not target of the project to develop a mandatory set of performance indicators.
Mag. Brigitte Frey
Ernst & Young
A-1220 Wien, Wagramer Str. 19
Tel: +43 1 21170-1083
DI Monika Brom
Abt. Umweltmanagement, Verkehr und Lärm
Univ.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Christine Jasch
Institut für Ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung
October 2007 - December 2008
Federal Ministry of economic affairs
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management
The Austrian Chamber of certified accountants and auditors since 1999 annually launches the Austrian Sustainability Reporting Award ASRA in cooperation with the Association of Industry, the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The European Sustainability Reporting Association (ESRA) is highlighting the progress of participating countries in ensuring the maximum number of organisations producing reports on their impacts on the environment and society. Experts from each of the countries involved produce summaries on sustainability reporting – and the overall view is positive.
The launch of the website, and the greater transparency which it will bring to sustainability reporting in Europe, has been welcomed by leading organisations. The
summary of reporting developments in each country, along with key regional statistics provided by CorporateRegister.com, are available on the new ESRA website http://www.sustainabilityreporting.eu/
A growing number of investors are putting their money into companies whose activities are seen as particularly environmental and socially responsible. To achieve the greatest possible diversification of risk, a useful strategy for these investors is to buy environmental, ethical or other sustainable equity funds.
Since 1993 Dr. Jasch is member in the scientific board of the ecofund Ökovision of the German ÖkoRenta AG, who regularly assesses the proposed titles on their environmental and social soundness, based on the sustainability criteria developed for the ecofund. (www.oekoworld.com)
With the OeKB Sustainability Fund Index (OeSFX), investors and fund managers can compare their daily fund performance to that of the universe of environmentally and socially responsible, sustainable stock funds listed in Austria. (www.oesfx.at) This first equity fund index of its kind world-wide allows the benchmarking of performance in this growing segment of the Austrian fund market. Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG (OeKB) has been providing the OeSFX as a free service to the Austrian financial market since 2005. The daily and historical index values since December 30, 2004 are available at OeKB's financial data portal, www.profitweb.at .
OeKB, as provider of financial market data and indices registered and verified under the European Regulation for an Environmental Management and Audit Scheme, EMAS, regards the OeSFX as a contribution to the transparency of financial information and an important element in its sustainability programme. The OeSFX was developed by an independent advisory committee of experts from the following organisations:
Sustainability information in annual reports – Building on implementation of the Modernization Directive, (2008)
- Key Issues in Sustainability Assurance, An Overview (2006) Assurance for a Sustainable Supply Chain (2005);
- Alert on Emissions Trading (2005);
- Call for Action – Assurance for Sustainability (2004);
- Benefits of Sustainability Assurance (2003);
- Greenhouse Gases and the Accountancy Profession (2002);
- Providing Assurance on Sustainability Reports (2002).
More and more people realise that they can cause changes in economy, environment and society by financial assets. They don’t want to invest in companies or countries, which are abusing human rights or disregarding ecological standards. They regard sustainable investments as an alternative.
“Sustainable investment”, “ethical-ecological investment” or just “green money” are several terms for investment products, whereas ethical, ecological and/or social components are regarded for the choice, retention and realisation of investments.
The volume of Austrian sustainable public funds is currently more than 1,100 millions Euros. The development is very dynamic. Every banking institution offers products for “green” investors; however the demand is mostly from institutional - from professional - investors.
A reason for the barrier for private investors to invest in “green” funds is inadequate information and consulting. Sustainable investment is not part of further education of the costumer consultants. They don’t have enough know-how about this topic. Therefore the costumer needs in information and potential “green” investors are not satisfied. The sustainable products are not active and preferential offered. The effect is that the demand of these products for private investors is not adequate. It is therefore necessary to improve the consulting of the issued topic, to force the sustainable financial market in Austria.
Against this background consulting in terms of a proactive offer of sustainable financial products was improved. Competent and target-group-specific consulting-services are determining an essential path forward stimulating demand for ethical-ecological investments. The cooperation with Raiffeisen Capital Management enables a specific preparation of information explicit for costumer consultants.
The project included the preparation and provision of information and materials about “sustainable investments” for the consultants of Raiffeisen Capital Management. Information was provided via several tools, whereby the procurement of information is intensified. This included the creation of training material as well as the preparation of specific topics for the internet. Client advisors participated in a two days training seminar which now has been integrated into the annual training schedule of the financial institution. The client advisors will thus be able to give competent consulting-services about the topic sustainable investment with a view to increase the demand of private investors.
Project lead: ÖGUT, Österreichische Gesellschaft für Umwelt & Technik
IÖW, Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung
RCM, Raiffeisen Capital Management
Project duration: 1-12/2009
Project finance: Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Technologie und Innovation
Sammer K., Hasenhüttl S., Jasch C., Wokaun F., Integration von Aspekten des Nachhaltigen Investments in das Schulungsprogramm eines ausgewählten Finanzdienstleisters, BMVIT Schriftenreihe 05/2011, Wien download pdf