global ESG / pcess609

As part of the global push to improve sustainability reporting, international standards setters are accelerating the effort to establish a new global standard for validating disclosures.

Following its latest meeting, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) said it will now launch its planned consultation on a proposed new standard for sustainability reporting in late July or early August, bringing forward the initiative from the original plan of October.

The consultation, which will run until December, is intended to ensure that a new standard is finalized and ready to be used in 2024.

“The IAASB has prioritized the development of a high-quality, global sustainability assurance standard. In our recent outreach, stakeholders told us they are awaiting our proposals and urged us not to delay getting them into the market to benefit fully from diverse stakeholder opinion,” said IAASB chair Tom Seidenstein in a release.

The decision to accelerate the consultation process was endorsed by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), which said the IAASB’s work will support the adoption of global standards for sustainability reporting that are consistent and comparable.

IOSCO also called on investors, issuers, assurance providers and others to participate in the IAASB’s consultation.

“This would help ensure a robust standard-setting process that considers wide stakeholder inputs and gives them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the content ahead of the end-2024 reporting period,” IOSCO said in a release.

The proposed assurance standard will set a “stand-alone, overarching standard suitable for both limited and reasonable assurance of sustainability information reported across any sustainability topics,” the IAASB said.

“The standard will enable engagements of sustainability information prepared under multiple frameworks and be profession-agnostic, supporting its use by both professional accountant and non-professional accountant assurance practitioners,” it added.

The IAASB said it will also coordinate closely with the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants on its project to develop ethics and independence standards for sustainability reporting and assurance.