The outgoing CEO of Danone, Emmanuel Faber, will utilise his broad experience in corporate sustainability management as chair of the newly formed International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

The board will be part of the IFRS, which is responsible for writing and managing the preeminent accounting rules followed by most developed economies. 

The formation of the ISSB has been a long-time coming. It will work to formalise and harmonise the disparate set of sustainability frameworks that face companies when reporting on their performance, and it’s hoped it will also reduce green-washing. 

While at the French yoghurt company Danone, Emmanuel Faber did drive a revolutionary new approach to sustainability management. His model followed the lead set by pioneering corporate leader Paul Polman when he was at Unilever. But, unlike Polman, who was able to placate agitated investors with long-term growth, Faber was ousted from the role. 

In March 2021 Danone announced that Faber would step down as CEO after investors complained of poor performance and slow margin growth. The announcement came as a shock to sustainability advocates, frustrated that the leader hadn’t been given enough time to leverage his sustainability improvements to become profit drivers, rather than costs. 

The move by ISSB to name Faber as the inaugural Chair is vindication of his sustainability credentials, and recognition for the challenges of bringing sustainability reporting to the global financial system. 

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