Put sustainability reporting above profit motives -listed companies urged

Listed companies must put sustainability reporting above profit motives to sustain the environment, the Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission, Reverend Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, has said.

To this end, he entreated listed companies to step up their sustainability reporting in line with global disclosure requirement standards, stressing that corporate managers should have   long-term view of the enterprise and depart from the characteristic short-term profit making motives only in the interest of shareholders.

Mr Tetteh who gave the admonition during the sustainability reporting workshop held in Accra on Wednesday stressed that environmental sustainability had become critical global issue for sustainability of businesses.

The programme organised by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was to build the capacity of listed companies, fund management and brokerage companies on sustainability reporting to meet the international standards.

Mr Tetteh said climate change had become one of the important risks, if not the most important risk, confronting the nations of the world as well as the corporate entities operating in the world today.

“The carrying capacity of the environment for our collective sustenance is at stake, making most developing countries such as Ghana vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change. It is therefore timely to embrace the ‘concept of generational equity’ in our economic growth and development agenda, particularly, in the way we exploit our natural and other resources,” he said.

Mr Tetteh stressed that sustainability reporting and accounting performance could not be based solely on financial indicators or metrics alone but also on non-traditional metrics such as climate change (the environment), human rights and wellbeing of workers, the community engagement and how corporate activities/operations had been beneficial to the society at large.

He argued that transparency and quality of corporate governance particularly in the area of stakeholder relations was vital on the sustainability scorecard.

The Director-General observed that the living should always have the welfare of succeeding generations in mind as they exploit the environment for their benefit.

According to Mr Tetteh, the emergence of and increased investor appetite for “green finance and bonds” underscores the need to adopt sustainability reporting standards as well as the need for issuers of securities to remain transparent and ethical in the way they deploy funds towards sustainable green projects.

To this, he said managers of corporate entities and institutions in Ghana should adopt the  concept of sustainability reporting to manage and plan for long-term sustenance and avoid behaviours that endanger their organisations to the detriment of their shareholders, workers, environment, the community and society at large.

He posited that the collapse of otherwise promising Ghanaian local enterprises was due to the failure of their owners/managers to embrace good governance standards, prudence and generational equity which is directly linked to sustainability management

“The Commission is very much aware that adoption of this new sustainability reporting standard may come not without cost. However, it is believed that its benefits may far outweigh the cost,” Mr Tetteh said.

BY DAVID ADADEVOH

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