ISSB to be set up by COP26 and focus first on climate

IFRS hopes to have climate standard by second half of 2022

The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation is hoping to have the new International Sustainability Standards Board set up by COP26, executive director Lee White has said.

Speaking at a UKSIF webinar, Non-financial reporting and the work of global standard-setters, White said COP26 has created a timeline and momentum to “get to the point to saying the conditions of success have been met and the new board has been created, on the way to global baseline standards everyone can use”.

He added: “We need to move at pace but the consultation [of trustees undertaken in October 2020] was clear” he said, that thoroughness should not be compromised.

See also: – UKSIF CEO: No-one knows what a net-zero economy will look like

Based on positive feedback to the consultation, a global move towards more harmonisation and collaboration, and support from organisations such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, the IFRS is progressing towards creating an international board that can create global standards on sustainability to replace voluntary standards.

White said its first priority is climate, on which it hopes to have a standard in the second half of 2022.

White also said he hopes to have approval for the new board from the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) by COP26 as well, which has committed in principle to endorse the work of the board and stand ready to support it through the establishment of a multi-stakeholder expert consultative committee.

See also: – IOSCO may lead implementation of ESG disclosure and rating standards

Addressing concerns

Back in March, the Investment Association (IA) stewardship manager and ESG Clarity editorial panellist Sarah Woodfield said the IA welcomed the IFRS’s plans called for greater clarity.

“Global coordination needs to consider not only the need for harmonisation of issuers sustainability disclosures, but also those of financial institutions, so that information flows efficiently from companies to investment managers and finally to the owners of capital,” she said.

White urged people to participate in setting the agenda once the board has been formed.

He also addressed concerns the new board would build upon work already undertaken, such as the Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosure, and said a global standard would not be the “lowest common denominator” that works for all.

Amid speculation about where the new board will be based, however, he remained tight-lipped.

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Natasha Turner

Natasha is global deputy editor at ESG Clarity, part of the Bonhill Group, and has been a financial journalist for six years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of...