Date posted: 17/11/2022

New sustainability guide for not-for-profits and charities

A new playbook offers actionable insights for not-for-profits and charities which have a critical role in the transition to a sustainable future.

In brief

  • 'Purpose, people and planet' is a new playbook by CA ANZ.
  • The playbook includes tailored tips and free resources.
  • Sustainability needs to be looked at in a holistic manner.

Just as the corporate sector is under pressure to address the social and environmental impacts of their operations, the not-for-profit (NFP) and charity sector is also coming under scrutiny.

“There’s a significant shift in the dial,” says Bhavesh Narsey CA, National Head of Not-For-Profit at Grant Thornton Australia. “A greater focus from many stakeholders on not just what an NFP does but how they deliver that service in the most sustainable way.”

NFPs and charities create significant impact in Australia, New Zealand and overseas. Applying a social and environmental lens to how they achieve this is a challenge many are yet to tackle. Those that do will be on the front foot in this changing world.

“There’s a significant shift in the dial. A greater focus from many stakeholders on not just what an NFP does but how they deliver that service in the most sustainable way.”
Bhavesh Narsey CA, National Head of Not-For-Profit at Grant Thornton Australia.

A new playbook by Chartered Accountants ANZ outlines how NFPs can deliver on their purpose and enhance their financial sustainability by considering sustainability-related issues within their operations and supply chains.

It also highlights how this can improve their appeal to funders, employees and volunteers and strengthen their resilience.

It draws on the experience of Chartered Accountants who specialise in NFPs, such as Craig Fisher FCA, consultant at RSM Audit in Auckland, who says NFPs need to have a wider perspective on sustainability.

“We try to get them to look at sustainability in a more holistic manner, through an ESG or SDG lens, not just focusing on the environmental perspective,” says Fisher.

For many NFPs, this may mean starting small and steadily increasing their ambition. For others, their team may already be pursuing individual initiatives such as buying locally or reducing power use and they are ready to embed sustainability more fully into their strategy.

The playbook includes tips tailored to the sector and links to free resources that NFPs can access to assist them to incorporate sustainability into how they operate. It spotlights case studies of NFPs that are already taking steps in this direction and offers practical advice from their teams to assist others to start.

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