The intricacies of global accounting standards are far from sexy, but the latest news out of the International Financial Review Standards Foundation (IFRS) has got us very excited! 

And that’s because they’ve announced the formation of the International Sustainable Standards Board, the ISSB

The ISSB will sit alongside the IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) as the preeminent holder of accounting rules for sustainable investment disclosures and reporting. 

The board will develop a comprehensive global baseline of high-quality sustainability disclosure standards for companies to report and investors to analyse. 

Why is this so exciting you may ask? Isn’t that just another overly-bureaucratic organisation full of accounting-wonks? It is! But it’s also the world’s leading authority on accounting standards. Their rules allow investors to compare corporate financial reporting across the globe, and now, they’re working their magic on sustainability standards. 

The hope is that we will finally have a globally recognised set of standards for ESG reporting. 

There’s an ever-growing set of sustainability reporting frameworks, but the ISSB will also unite a number of leading groups. The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) and the Value Reporting Foundation (which houses the Integrated Reporting Framework and SASB) will both fall under the remit of the ISSB

This is an important step in bringing the rigour and reliability of sustainability reporting in-line with that of financial reporting. While the proliferation of corporate sustainability reports is positive, they rarely conform to a format that renders them comparable among each other. ISSB has the potential to change this, and in the process, to reduce green-washing, and boost the integrity of ESG data. 

We celebrate the small wins, but in the long-term we hope the focus goes broader than just ESG, with standards that measure the broader impacts of a company’s operations and actions on the community and the environment. 

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