Add skills to adapt to 'new era' in climate disclosure

Australian enterprises face a new era of disclosure that will require bean counters to balance the books on environmental and social costs, experts warn.

In response, RMIT Online has partnered with Deloitte to help organisations get ready to report on climate risks and sustainability under new global and Australian standards.

With a mandatory climate reporting regime set to come into effect in Australia, a short course or micro-credential has opened for enrolment.

The new reporting standards are part of a global shift in compliance that will need trained accountants and bookkeepers, as well as skilled finance and business leaders.

"Compliance relies on upskilling," RMIT Online chief executive and workforce education expert Nic Cola said.

"Encompassing governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets, organisations will need to update more than their financial reporting," he said.

International Financial Reporting Standards and the Australian Sustainability Reporting Standards require sustainability and climate-related reporting and disclosure, initially for large enterprises and then a broader rollout.

Many companies are already making voluntary disclosures, but Deloitte said it encouraged all businesses to ensure they are prepared as mandatory reporting is imminent.

Deloitte said the new standards require climate performance to be explicitly considered in financial reporting for the first time but it is not merely about compliance, as the changes can also make business activities more resilient. 

"This comprehensive course provides financial, sustainability and risk professionals with an understanding of how to integrate sustainability and climate-related assessments into the finance function," Joanne Gorton, managing partner at Deloitte, said.

Credentialed by RMIT University, the course provides weekly webinars and contact with local and global industry experts.

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