December 6, de 2021
Enhancing Trust & Confidence in Sustainability Disclosure
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published its vision for high-quality assurance of sustainability information—calling out best practices identified during its year-long, global engagement campaign related to the State of Play in Sustainability Assurance. This vision addresses the importance of global standards, regulation that supports decision-useful disclosure, and the value of an interconnected approach to sustainability and financial information reporting and assurance.
“In order to be trusted, sustainability disclosure must be subject to high-quality, independent, external assurance,” said IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey. “Sustainability information must take its rightful place in the corporate reporting ecosystem and stakeholder confidence must be on par with financial reporting. Given the announcement of the International Sustainability Standards Board, the publication of a Climate Prototype, and IOSCO’s continued support for the initiative, it’s an appropriate time for regulators and authorities to put sustainability assurance on the agenda, as already proposed in the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. We urge IFAC member organizations to promote high-quality reporting and assurance through discussions with policymakers, regulators, investors, and other stakeholders.”
As a harmonized, global reporting system for reporting sustainability information takes shape, based on the Building Blocks Approach, emerging regulatory frameworks should be designed to promote robust, decision-useful disclosure and disincentivize a compliance-based approach to both reporting and assurance. Aligning sustainability disclosure with financial reporting and connecting sustainability assurance engagements with financial statement audits will maximize value to reporting entities and their stakeholders. High-quality, global standards—for reporting, assurance, and ethical professional conduct—play a key role in meeting this objective and in avoiding unnecessary costs and reduced comparability and consistency that result from regulatory fragmentation.