Ethics & Sustainability Conference (Dublin)

Join a host of leading law, ethics and sustainability experts for our Dublin Conference on 22 March 2024.


Join a host of leading law, ethics and sustainability experts for our Dublin Conference on 22 March 2024.

The conference will provide an opportunity to network with fellow accounting and finance professionals.

Attendance at the event will provide you with 7 CPD units.


10:00 - 10:20   Registration

10:20 - 10:30   Welcome and Update - Sharon Gorman

10:30 - 11:40







Session 1







Sustainable Finance & Reporting for SMEs - Dr Sean O'Reilly, University College, Dublin

Discover how to prepare your accounting practice and clients for sustainability. Seán will provide an overview of sustainable finance with focus on SMEs. The presentation will focus on some key aspect of sustainable finance including: 

  • Understanding Sustainable Finance: what is sustainable finance 
  • Sustainable Finance for SMEs: benefits and challenge of sustainable finance for SMEs 
  • Financial Instruments and Opportunities: types of sustainable finance products and accessing funds 
  • Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: key reporting frameworks, regulation and how to report effectively 
  • Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainability Reporting 
  • Integrating Sustainability in Business Strategy: aligning business strategy with sustainable practices

11:45 - 12:55








Session 2

Balancing Nature's Books - Dr Fiachra O'Brolchain, Dublin City University

This aim of this talk is to introduce the audience to philosophical ethics, environmental philosophy, and the debates and arguments that arise from the ongoing environmental crisis. Environmental philosophy holds that massive, often global concerns regarding climate change, species extinction, toxic pollution, and many others pose a broad and deep challenge to both moral and political thinking and to communities, today and in the future. These topics raise questions of what is permissible in terms of our relationship with the rest of the natural world, what is and is not obligatory, and the suitability of traditional ethical frameworks for addressing the current ecological challenges.

The talk will look at a number of the specific ethical dilemmas facing us in the Anthropocene and outline some of the solutions being considered. Furthermore, issues of justice, moral value, and political theory will be outlined.

The audience should gain a deeper understanding of how philosophical ethics and political theory works, a clearer view of the environmental crisis, an insight into the ways philosophical concepts frame and shape our responses to environmental challenges, and an introduction to some of the proposed solutions.

13:00 - 14:00   Lunch

14:00 - 15:10

Session 3

Law, Ethics & Related Developments within a Business Environment - Paul Gormley, TU Dublin

The presentation will concentrate on legal developments that impact both on professional accountants in business and their clients. A review of current laws relating to money laundering, protected disclosures, General Data Protection, perjury and other related matters that may have an ethical implication on individuals will be examined. 

After the presentation individuals will have a knowledge of issues that may arise in their professional careers.  

A review of ethical situations and recent decisions of the courts and regulatory bodies will be informative and beneficial to the participant.

15:15 - 16:20

Session 4


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Overview, Challenges and Potential Business Impact - Lisa Sheenan, Queens University Belfast

This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role that micro- small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can play in achieving these on a global, country and individual level. The challenges and trade offs that are faced while doing this in practice will also be highlighted, along with possible solutions and ways forward. The main aim of this presentation is to present a critical analysis of the challenges and opportunities associated with MSMEs integrating the SDGs into their business practices and operations.  

The seventeen SDGs, created in 2015, encompass 169 targets covering economic, environmental and social goals to be reached by 2030. These provide a global framework and common language for all members of society, from the individual level to a business and country level, to reach sustainability goals. However it is becoming clear that, with just under six years to go, many businesses are not on track to meet the 2030 deadline. 

As MSMEs account for the vast majority of global businesses they have a huge role to play in achieving the SDGs, however they face significant challenges in doing so. These challenges include access to clear and accurate information, as well as resourcing and other related costs. Such challenges can be acute for smaller enterprises, such as micro businesses. 

This presentation will cover ways in which these, and other MSMEs, can integrate SDGs into their operations using real life examples, initiatives and case studies.  

The potential benefits of doing so to the businesses themselves will be highlighted, such as reputational and competitive advantages.  

The wider benefits to global sustainability of this sector of the economy achieving the SDGs will also be presented, in terms of environmental, societal and economic advantages. 

Learning outcomes 

  • Understand how and why the SDGs were created; 
  • List and explain the SDGs in terms of metrics, benchmarks and targets; 
  • Outline the importance of MSMEs to the global economy and the fight for sustainability; 
  • Discuss the benefits to MSMEs for integrating the SDGs into their business activities and operations; 
  • Highlight the challenges that MSMEs face in achieving the SDGs; 
  • Present strategies that MSMEs can use to integrate the SDGs into their operations; 
  • Identify the benefits to global sustainability from MSMEs achieving the SDGs; 
  • Critically assess where countries and businesses are in terms of meeting the SDGs; 
  • Analyse some relevant case studies from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) SDG Accelerator; 
  • Evaluate some empirical evidence on how MSMEs are faring in meeting the SDGs. 

16:20 - 16:40   Networking



Dr Seán O’Reilly

Dr Seán O’Reilly is an Assistant Professor of Accountancy at University College Dublin and Academic Director of the Masters of Accounting programme at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Seán is a Chartered Accountant having trained at PwC before beginning his journey into academia.  

Seán has extensive experience in executive education and is part of the FAE lecturing team at Chartered Accountants Ireland. 

Seán's PhD entitled Essays in Entrepreneurial & Green Finance examined the financing of early-stage Cleantech firms and environmental sustainability reporting practices in SMEs, focusing on the role of the accountant. He has subsequently published several academic papers in highly ranked international peer-reviewed journals on sustainability reporting for SMEs. 

Dr Fiachra O’Brolcháin

Fiachra O’Brolcháin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Theology, Philosophy and Music. He obtained his doctorate from the school of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy Queens University Belfast in 2009. He wrote his thesis on the patenting of biotechnological products (GM crops) in order to analyse issues of justice in relation to patenting, technology, international trade, and the environment. 

He has worked on various aspects of applied ethics, including the ethical and social implications of virtual reality and social networking in association with the EU's Reverie Project, and the ethical implications of human enhancement technologies. His current work focuses on the ethical aspects of technological development (including assistive technologies) and environmental philosophy, including issues of the sustainability of robotics, and the ethics of biodesign. 

Paul Gormley

Paul Gormley is a practising Barrister with over 20 years experience of the court process and has practised in the areas of criminal commercial, contract, asylum and general tort law. 

He is a lecturer of law and ethics in the Technological University Dublin and delivers modules on company law, contract, tort, employment, international trade,business ethics and law and ethics with regard to D.N.A. and forensic analysis. 

Paul has held appointments under the Minister for Justice as a member of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal and the Minister for public expenditure as a lobbying appeals officer.

Lisa Sheenan

Lisa Sheenan is Assistant Professor at Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom, lecturing Sustainable Finance and Financial Regulation and Risk Management. She holds a PhD in Finance from Maynooth University, Ireland (2014). She has worked as an Economist for the Central Bank of Ireland and as a Risk Analyst for the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland at the National Treasury Management Agency of Ireland. She has published in internationally peer-reviewed academic journals such as The Journal of Banking of Finance, The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, The European Journal of Finance and Economics Letters.

She has also contributed to the sub-working group on Policy Design for the Green Finance Effectiveness Framework produced by the Green Finance Platform, which is co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme and was a visiting scholar in the Banque de France Climate Economics Unit in 2023. She is on several active research projects investigating mobilising private finance to conserve biodiversity funded by the Irish Research Council, Horizon Europe and the United Kingdom Natural Environment Research Council.


Chartered Accountants House - Dublin

Chartered Accountants House 47/49 Pearse Street Dublin 2 D02 YN40 Ireland

AIA Team

Sharon Gorman | AIA

Sharon Gorman

Sharon is accountable for the professional development of AIA members; specifically delivering a programme of continuing professional development for members and ensuring compliance with CPD requirements.

Book now

To reserve your place at this exclusive event please click book now.

£135 | AIA members
£185 | Non-members

To take advantage of reduced member rates, ensure you are logged in before proceeding.