IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) is ramping up its commitment to the important topic of sustainability by creating a new IMA Sustainable Business Management Global Task Force.   

Jeff Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, IMA president and CEO, authorized the formation of the new task force earlier this summer to put IMA in position to lead in this emerging area from the unique perspective of the management accounting profession. Among its primary goals, the task force will advocate for the profession by responding to calls for input by regulators and standard setters. The task force will kick off in September.

Also this fall, all eyes will be on Glasgow as the United Nations will host the 16th Conference of Parties (COP), which is expected to serve as a global platform to announce new direction in accountancy around climate action. Major announcements are expected from the European Commission, the IFRS Foundation, and other authoritative bodies on how disclosure standards will be set around these issues into the future. IMA’s new task force is planning to respond.

Brigitte de Graaff, CMA, CSCA, IMA Global Board member, is serving as chair of the new task force, and other Global Board members, including Paul Juras, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, CPA, Global Board Chair-Emeritus, and Gwen van Berne, CMA, Global Board Chair-Elect, have joined.  

Noted de Graaff, “IMA is uniquely positioned to speak holistically and globally for the management accounting profession with respect to sustainable business. We aim to communicate how sustainable business is meaningful for management decision making, not just external users. In addition to advocacy, members of the new task force will perform outreach among IMA members and the global business community on how sustainable business information and a value-creation mindset can enhance management decision making and performance.”

Shari Littan, JD, CPA, IMA director of corporate reporting research and policy, will support the task force activities and lead related IMA thought leadership and research. Littan noted that sustainable business is becoming increasingly critical for entities of all sizes, not only multinationals. “Many consider sustainable business only in terms of cost, but there are enormous strategic opportunities for which management accountants have valuable expertise to bring to successful fruition.”

July 27 Comment Letter

The new task force and IMA recently issued a comment letter in response to an exposure draft proposing changes to the IFRS Foundation constitution. The changes proposed would allow for the creation of an International Sustainability Standards Board to set IFRS sustainability standards. 

In the comment letter, IMA stated it is “enthusiastically supportive of the proposed amendments as stated in the exposure draft with one important caveat regarding the perspective of management.” That caveat: the proposed approach overlooks management as a stakeholder and user of sustainable business information. The letter suggested nine overarching principles that “are fundamental to building a successful and sustainable accounting ecosystem.” The task force will refine and finalize those principles this fall. 

The IFRS Foundation is currently considering all of the comment letters it received on this topic and is expected to make a determination about this subject in the near future.

For further information about IMA’s efforts in the area of sustainability, please contact Shari Littan at