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Australian SMEs scramble to upskill for new sustainability reporting standards

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RMIT Online has teamed up with Deloitte to tackle the urgent need for Australian businesses to enhance their skills in response to new global sustainability reporting standards.

The latest International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the Australian Sustainability Reporting Standards (ASRS) are now requiring companies, including Australia’s largest listed and unlisted firms and financial institutions, to incorporate sustainability and climate-related reporting and disclosure. Initially impacting large enterprises, these standards will eventually extend to encompass all Australian businesses.

The joint initiative, titled ‘Sustainability and climate-related financial reporting: ISSB, ASRS and beyond’, is co-created and co-delivered by RMIT Online and Deloitte. Its purpose is to empower professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to facilitate sustainability and climate-related financial reporting on behalf of their organizations.

Nic Cola, CEO at RMIT Online, remarked, “The topics of sustainability and climate change have been steadily gaining traction as businesses grapple with the effects of climate change and support the transition to a net zero future. The introduction of new disclosure obligations marks a significant shift towards sustainability and transparency worldwide. This extends beyond financial reporting to encompass governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets, necessitating upskilling for compliance.”

This collaboration between RMIT Online and Deloitte follows their previous joint effort on a Sustainability and Social Impact Future Skills short course in 2022.

Joanne Gorton, Managing Partner of Audit and Assurance at Deloitte, emphasized, “The new standards mandate the explicit consideration of climate performance in financial reporting for the first time. This comprehensive course equips financial, sustainability, and risk professionals with the knowledge to seamlessly integrate sustainability and climate-related assessments into the finance function.”

Gorton added, “At Deloitte, we are dedicated to assisting businesses in preparing to meet the forthcoming requirements. It is encouraging to see many companies already embarking on this journey through voluntary disclosures, and as mandatory reporting looms, we urge all businesses to ensure they are adequately prepared.”

Darren Gerber, Global Risk Advisory Sustainability and Climate Leader at Deloitte, highlighted, “The standards place a strong emphasis on addressing strategic risks and opportunities. It is imperative for organizations to recognize this as more than just a disclosure standard, but rather an opportunity to bolster the resilience of their strategies and risk frameworks.”

The course is available in synchronous and asynchronous formats, offering weekly webinars and opportunities for engagement with industry experts both locally and globally.

Credentialed by RMIT University, the course is now open for enrollment.

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