April 8, 2022
ISSB delivers proposals that create comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures

Founded at COP26, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has launched a consultation on its initial two proposed standards to develop a full, international baseline of sustainability disclosures for capital markets. One sets out general sustainability-related disclosure requirements and the other focuses on climate-related disclosure requirements.

The proposals―exposure drafts—build upon the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and incorporate industry-based disclosure requirements derived from SASB Standards.

The final necessities shared by the ISSB will form a comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures designed to meet the information needs of investors in assessing enterprise value. In order to support the inclusion of the global baseline into jurisdictional requirements, the ISSB is collaborating with other international organisations and jurisdictions.

The ISSB is seeking feedback on the proposals over a 120-day consultation period closing on 29 July 2022. Proposal feedback will be reviewed in the second half of 2022 aiming to issue the new Standards by the end of the year.

G20 leaders, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and others for enhanced information from companies on sustainability-related risks and opportunities have all submitted proposals defining requirements for the disclosure of material information about an organisation’s significant sustainability-related risks and opportunities. All of this data is necessary for investors to gauge enterprises’ values.

The ISSB will consult on its standard-setting priorities in the second half - including sought feedback on investors’ necessities for sustainability-related information when assessing enterprise value and on further development of industry-based requirements, building on SASB Standards, which address a broad range of sustainability matters. Further, the ISSB has set out its plan for how its work will build on the SASB Standards and industry-based standard-setting processes.

Emmanuel Faber, Chair of the ISSB, said: “Rarely do governments, policymakers and the private sector align behind a common cause. However, all agree on the importance of high-quality, globally comparable sustainability information for the capital markets. These proposals define what information to disclose, and where and how to disclose it. Now is the time to get involved and comment on the proposals.”

Ashley Alder, Chairman of the IOSCO Board, said: “IOSCO welcomes the publication of the ISSB’s two proposed IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards. We will review the proposals, with the objective to endorse them for use by our member jurisdictions. Endorsement by IOSCO can pave the way for adoption of the Standards around the world, delivering much-needed consistency and comparability in sustainability-related information to the capital markets.”

Mary Schapiro, Head of the TCFD Secretariat, said: “By building on the TCFD’s framework, the ISSB’s climate proposals will create further consistency, comparability and reliability across climate disclosure so investors can make more informed financial decisions. I welcome and support the ISSB’s work, which will bring further transparency on the financial impacts of climate change.”

The ISSB’s proposals build on the work of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, the International Accounting Standards Board, the Value Reporting Foundation (which houses Integrated Reporting and SASB Standards), the TCFD and the World Economic Forum.

Consistent with the transparent due process used to develop IFRS Accounting Standards, development of IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards follows as such. Required by the IFRS Foundation’s Constitution, the IFRS Foundation Trustees’ Due Process Oversight Committee has overseen the decision by the ISSB Chair and Vice-Chair to publish these exposure drafts before the ISSB is quorate.

Intended to provide a global baseline and to be compatible with jurisdiction-specific requirements, the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards include those intended to meet broader stakeholder information needs. Subsequently, as well as commenting on the ISSB’s proposals, stakeholders are urged to reply to other relevant public consultations undertaken by jurisdictions on sustainability reporting.

Taxonomy

Shortly, initial proposals for an IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Taxonomy, enabling structured electronic tagging of a company’s sustainability disclosures will be unveiled.

Source: IFRS