- Today (26th June 2023) the International Sustainability Standards Board, formed with the support of the G20 and G7, published a comprehensive international baseline standard for sustainability disclosures.
- The S2 Standard for Climate Related Disclosures is notable for recommending that companies disclose climate transition plans, which are emerging as key tools to support corporate accountability and the delivery of net zero targets.
- The ISSB’s ultimate success in becoming the international standard for sustainability disclosures will depend upon how interoperable its standards prove to be with existing jurisdictional approaches, in particular with European Sustainability Reporting Standards. Several major economies have already signalled that they plan to adopt the ISSB standards, and more are expected to do so later this year
The International Sustainable Standards Board (ISSB) has finalised the International Financial Reporting Standard S1 for General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability Related Financial Information and International Reporting Standard S2 for Climate Related Disclosures, for use starting in 2024.
The ISSB standards will serve as the global baseline for sustainability disclosures on sustainability and climate. Since its inception at COP26, the ISSB has won the backing of the G20 and G7, IOSCO, the Financial Stability Board, and the African Finance Ministers as well as Finance Ministers from more than 40 jurisdictions.
By creating an international standard for robust, consistent, comparable information, the ISSB will support the global climate transition by meeting investors’ needs for sustainability and climate related information, and by facilitating companies’ ability to provide this information to global capital markets.
Next steps include country-by-country adoption
Implementation of the standards by individual countries will be the crucial next step. Some jurisdictions, including the UK and Japan, have already committed to adopting the ISSB standards and putting mandatory disclosure requirements in place. More countries are likely to do so after the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO)’s expected endorsement of the standards later this year.
The ISSB’s work has been carried out in the context of a wider ‘pivot to regulation’, creating international standards for regulation of sustainability disclosures. For example, international assurance and audit standards for sustainability disclosures are also in the process of development.
Interoperability of the ISSB’s standards with those of major markets, such as the United States, Europe and China, will be key to their eventual global take-up and success.
- The ISSB standards are designed to be interoperable with the European Union’s Environmental Sustainability Reporting Standards, to be finalised this summer.
- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission draft regulation is more limited in scope but includes some important mandatory sustainability disclosure requirements.
- The UK, Japan and Nigeria are among major economies that have indicated their support for using the ISSB standards.
- The ISSB has also focused on the need for capacity building, especially in developing countries that may bear the brunt of climate change.
Kate Levick, Associate Director, Sustainable Finance at E3G said:
“Today’s launch of the ISSB standards comes at a critical moment for international action on sustainability and climate change. Market and regulatory awareness of the benefits of robust, credible private sector transition plans has skyrocketed in 2023, and the ISSB’s global baseline is a crucial piece of the architecture for their delivery.”
Elizabeth Jacobs, Senior Specialist, Sustainable Finance at E3G said:
“New international disclosure standards are not born every day. Real success will depend on jurisdictions’ willingness to align with the ISSB standards, prove their interoperability, and elevate climate related disclosures that truly meet the needs of investors and issuers, and support the transition to net zero.”
Available for comment
Jacques Morris (EN, FR), Senior Associate, Sustainable Finance at E3G
m: +44 7526 70 25 23; email@example.com
Jurei Yada (EN, FR, PL, JP), Programme Leader, EU Sustainable Finance at E3G
m: +32 (0)4 92 11 38 68; firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Jacobs (EN) Senior Specialist, US Sustainable Finance at E3G
M: 202 921 8187; email@example.com (EST time zone enquiries only)
Notes to Editors
- E3G is an independent climate change think tank with a global outlook. We work on the frontier of the climate landscape, tackling the barriers and advancing the solutions to a safe climate. Our goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action. About – E3G
- For further enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0)7783 787 863