On Monday, the International Sustainability Standards Board released its first two reporting standards. Not another ESG standard you say? Aren’t there enough standards already in play, with both the US and Europe proposing or adopting mandatory standards? Not to mention that the ISSB standards are just voluntary, although some countries, such as Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and the UK, may adopt the standards as mandatory. But take note—the WSJ suggests that the ISSB standards could well become “the global baseline” because “the advantages of using a single standard worldwide may, for many companies, outweigh the disadvantages of being more demanding than the SEC’s coming climate reporting rules.” According to Mary Schapiro, former SEC Chair and current Head of the TCFD Secretariat and Vice Chair for Global Public Policy at Bloomberg L.P., “The global economy needs common reporting standards to reduce fragmentation and drive comparability in climate-related financial data. Built upon the foundation of the TCFD framework, the ISSB Standards provide a global baseline for companies to disclose decision-useful, climate-related financial information—information that is critical for creating more transparent markets, helping achieve a smooth low-carbon transition, and building a more resilient and sustainable global economy.”
ISSB global sustainability reporting standards—will the SEC’s expected climate disclosure rules be in sync?
As part of the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program, in Q4 2021, Deloitte surveyed over 350 audit committee members in 40 countries about climate issues. In the survey, 60% of respondents said “the lack of global reporting standards makes it hard to compare their organization’s progress against meaningful external benchmarks.” The International Sustainability Standards Board established by the IFRS Foundations is developing a set of global sustainability reporting standards. Will climate disclosure rules expected from the SEC be in sync with ISSB global standards? Could some companies be subject to both climate disclosure regimes?