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ACCA welcomes the recent groundbreaking announcements in the field of sustainability reporting at global and US level


28 Mar 2022


Innovation & Enterprise

ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) welcomes the IFRS Foundation and GRI‘s collaboration towards a complete and compatible suite of sustainability disclosures, and the US SEC’s proposal to move from voluntary to mandatory Climate-Related Risk disclosures for all listed companies.

ACCA is a longstanding advocate of global standards for sustainability reporting, calling for consistency, alignment, compatibility, cross-border inter-operability, comparability and interconnectedness of initiatives and standards at national, EU and global levels, as highlighted in its Policy paper ‘Principles for Connected Corporate Reporting’.

Mike Suffield, ACCA’s director of professional insights says: ‘We applaud these moves toward further harmonisation of reporting standards. We’ve been calling for collaboration between the IFRS Foundation’s International Standards Setting Board (ISSB) and GRI’s Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), and we’re therefore pleased that this has now happened.

‘We hope that this will contribute to promote clarity and compatibility in the sustainability disclosure landscape, and help businesses better identify the issues that matter most, considering and then disclosing impact when assessing enterprise value. This should also be a further enabler of the co-construction exercise with EFRAG on the drafting of the EU sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).’

ACCA particularly welcomes the intention of the two standards-setters to provide two pillars of international sustainability reporting - a first pillar made of investor-focused capital market standards of IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards developed by the ISSB, and a second pillar of GRI sustainability reporting requirements set by the GSSB, compatible with the first, designed to meet multi-stakeholder needs.

‘It is very encouraging to see that the IFRS Foundation and GRI jointly recognise the importance of striving to reduce the reporting burden for companies, as well as complexity in the sustainability reporting landscape, for example in seeking to use common metrics where possible. The ultimate goals are that these more integrated reporting and thinking are able to drive the much needed positive change for our people and our planet’, Mike Suffield adds.

‘And in this vein, we are very pleased to see that the US SEC has taken this positive step forward to enhance and standardise climate-related disclosures for investors, so meeting the longstanding demands for transparency into how climate change is impacting the global economy, and recognising that climate risk is indeed financial risk. We commend the fact that the proposals seem to faithfully reflect the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) - already widely adopted internationally - on governance, strategy and risk management’, Mike Suffield explains.

‘We are also very pleased that the proposals echo the European Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive proposals in requiring independent assurance for larger companies to enhance the reliability of those greenhouse gas emissions disclosures, with a requirement for the more stringent ‘reasonable assurance’ requirements after an interim period of ‘limited assurance’

‘ACCA will continue engaging and collaborating with the global and EU standards setters calling for as much alignment and inter-operability as possible between the various sets of standards in the making, which is instrumental to  improve the comparability of sustainability reporting and minimize the reporting burden on preparers’, Mike Suffield concludes.

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Notes to Editors

About ACCA: ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. We’re a thriving global community of 233,000 members and 536,000 future members based in 178 countries and regions that upholds the highest professional and ethical values.

We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society that supports both public and private sectors. That’s why we’re committed to the development of a strong global accountancy profession and the many benefits that this brings to society and individuals.

Since 1904 being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. And because we’re a not-for-profit organisation, we build a sustainable global profession by re-investing our surplus to deliver member value and develop the profession for the next generation.

Through our world leading ACCA Qualification, we offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. And using our respected research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing us for tomorrow.