Executive Education

Accounting for Sustainability

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The details
Accounting for Sustainability
2 days
19-20 Oct 2023
Colchester Campus, Essex Business School
Dr Silvia Gaia


Sustainable development is defined as the development that allows to satisfaction of the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To support the achievement of sustainable development, businesses need to pursue economic growth by promoting at the same time social progress and environmental sustainability. Sustainability accounting plays a key role in helping businesses to contribute to the promotion of sustainable development in our society. This course will draw on accounting research, case studies and current real issues faced nowadays by businesses in relation to sustainability to provide professionals with a deep understanding of the role that accounting plays in contributing to the achievement of sustainable development.


This course will introduce participants to the accounting tools that companies should use to pursue more sustainable development. By taking this course, participants will form a solid understanding of sustainability accounting and reporting that can be used to enhance social and environmental sustainability.

Course content highlights

  • Sustainable Investing. Learn how environmental and social sustainability has become important for investors.
  • Circularity. Learn to apply circular thinking when undertaking your professional responsibilities in your business.
  • Climate change. Learn the challenges that climate change imposes on businesses and what businesses can do to tackle climate change issues.
  • Biodiversity. Learn how to link biodiversity destruction to companies’ activities and incorporate it into the development of a business strategy.
  • Water management. Learn how to assess and report water management risks and opportunities.
  • Social inequalities. Learn to assess issues related to social inequalities and what businesses can do to reduce them.

Who should attend

The program will be of particular interest to executives and associates that are interested in incorporating a more sustainable approach to their businesses, and professionals that are considering becoming sustainability specialists in sustainability accounting and reporting.

Accreditation and professional recognition

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion in Accounting for Sustainability from Essex Business School, University of Essex.


All sessions will be delivered in a live “in-class” environment. There will be material provided prior to the sessions to enhance learning and increase the quality of the discourse in the classroom. Sessions will be devoted to “hands-on” learning through interactive case discussions and group work.

Our expert staff

Dr Silvia Gaia

Dr Silvia Gaia is a Reader in Accounting at Essex Business School. She previously worked as a Senior Lecturer and Lecturer in Accounting at the University of Essex and as a Lecturer in Accounting at the University of Cagliari (Italy). She held visiting scholar positions at the University of Birmingham (UK), HEC Montréal (Canada) and Columbia Business School (USA). Silvia’s research mainly relates to Social and Environmental accounting and reporting and Corporate Governance. Silvia is currently the Chair of the Special Interested Group of the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) on Financial Accounting and Reporting (FARSIG). She is an editorial board member of the Accounting Forum and Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies and has acted as a reviewer for several internationally recognized journals.


Module Outline

The course duration is 2 days consisting of 4 sessions each day. Each session is about 1.5 hours in duration.

Day 1

Session Topic Description
Session 1 Business Sustainability. The role of accounting. This session will introduce the concept of business sustainability and explain how accounting can help companies to operate in a more sustainable way.
Session 2 Circular economy This session will introduce the concept of circular economy and how it will help to achieve sustainable development. It will provide an overview of circular strategies that can be most impactful for businesses.
Session 3 Sustainable investment This session will explain the importance and viability of investing in sustainable businesses. It will discuss the environmental and social aspects that investors are now looking into before investing in a company.
Session 4 Sustainability reporting This session will provide an overview of the reporting framework that companies can follow in preparing sustainability reports. A particular focus will be provided on the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) pronouncements (S1 and S2) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).

Day 2

Session Topic Description
Session 1 Climate Change This session will discuss the challenges that climate change imposes on businesses. It will provide an overview of the reporting framework on climate change and the relevant regulations, and it will outline what businesses are currently doing to tackle climate change issues.
Session 2 Biodiversity This session will introduce the concept of biodiversity. It will explain why a business needs to account for biodiversity, what accounting and reporting framework they can use and what they are doing to improve biodiversity conservation.
Session 3 Water management This session will explain the water challenges faced by businesses. It will help to assess the water-related risks and opportunities that impact businesses. It will provide an overview of the reporting framework and the information that stakeholders expect companies to disclose in relation to water management.
Session 4 Social inequalities This session will outline the role of business in reducing social inequalities. It will discuss relevant accounting and reporting frameworks focusing on issues related to employee rights and modern slavery.

Where to find us?

Our Colchester Campus is located two miles from the historic city of Colchester – England's oldest recorded settlement and just one hour by train from London.

Essex Business School can be found on the edge of the campus nearby our iconic North Towers Student accommodation

Detailed information on how to get here including general travel information and parking can be found on our visitor web pages.

How to book

The cost of this course is £1500 including access to all programmes materials, refreshments and lunch.

Payment should be made in full at the time of applying.

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Please be aware that attendees will need to source their own accommodation for the duration of the course should they be travelling to attend. Onsite accommodation can be booked via Wivenhoe House Hotel or Event Essex. Alternatively, there are a range of local hotels nearby too.