Introduction to Sustainability Accounting


"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Brudtland report, WCED 1987:43)

There is a knowledge gap today between sustainability best practices and the reality of sustainability reporting in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In the introductory module we aim to help SMEs:


  • Understand the need for sustainable development as well as basic terms on sustainability

  • Realize which are the basic differences between conventional financial accounting and sustainability accounting

  • identify main drivers for sustainability accounting and reporting practices in a cost effective way

  • Specify the key enablers of sustainability inside a company and adjust them to their own potential

The introductory module is divided into three sub-modules:

Introduction to sustainability

  • Sustainable development and sustainability: Origins and evolution

  • Main challenges of sustainable development

  • The business case for sustainable development

Basics of sustainability accounting

  • Sustainability accounting and reporting: A brief history and perspectives

  • Main drivers of sustainability accounting

Key enablers of sustainability inside a company

  • Integrating sustainability into business practices

  • The corporate view

  • The organizational structure

  • The organizational mechanisms: training, communication, recognition and appraisal