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AICPA & CIMA executive urges accounting and finance professionals in Sri Lanka to seize the opportunity presented by the ESG agenda  

24 January 2023, Colombo – The leader of the world’s largest body of accountants and finance professionals, AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, urged the accounting and finance community in Sri Lanka to take the lead in guiding businesses and public bodies through the opportunities and risks presented by the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda.  
Addressing business, accounting and financial professionals during AICPA & CIMA ESG Summit in Sri Lanka, CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, set out how governments and market participants are driving the adoption of ESG reporting worldwide. He told them that the accounting and finance profession must grasp the opportunity to provide advisory, assurance and strategic advice to help create the sustainable businesses of the future.  
Mr. Melancon then reminded his audience that ESG assets will reach 50 trillion US dollars by 2025 and will be a key value driver for business over the next five years, and that the accounting and finance profession would be required to set its skills and competencies to the task of realising this ambition. By embracing the possibilities offered by the latest technology, he argued that accountants can improve an organisation’s integrated thinking and decision-making capabilities, and that in turn this can promote responsible and sustainable business practices.  
At the event, Mr. Melancon also announced the launch AICPA & CIMA’s Fundamentals of ESG Certificate in Sri Lanka, a new educational certificate that provides foundational knowledge on critical topics related to ESG reporting, advisory, and assurance. The 9-hour course offers a grounding in the fundamental concepts of and the latest developments within the ESG field. Upon completion, certificate holders can display a digital badge on their online profiles. 
Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, CEO, at AICPA & CIMA, said:  
“We are seeing increasing demand in Sri Lanka for our professional qualifications and training. This will grow the number of accounting and finance professionals who are able to manage the risks and grasp the opportunities presented by the need to develop sustainable business models and drive economic growth. Along with technological developments which are revolutionising the profession, that means that accountants in Sri Lanka have a once in a life-time chance to step up, instil trust and integrity, and lead the way in building the businesses of the future.”    
The AICPA & CIMA ESG Summit was attended by top corporate executives in Sri Lanka. In addition to Mr Melancon’s presentation, the event also included a case study presentation by Rishard Preena, Head of Sustainability Operations at Aitken Spence Hotels. This was followed by a panel discussion with Mr. Preena, Mr. Andrew Harding, Chief Executive – Management Accounting at AICPA & CIMA, Ms. Shamodi Nanayakkara of Head Conservation and Sustainability at Dilmeah Tea, Mr. Azam Bakeer Markar, Partnerships and Development Finance Specialist at the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office in Sri Lanka and Ms. Nemanthie Kooragamage, Director Product Creation and Sustainable Business at MAS Holdings.