Confirmation by the IFRS Foundation that they will address the impacts on value creation of sustainability topics in their standards, through the formation of an International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), has been welcomed by GRI. The IFRS Foundation announcement on 3 November sets out that the new ISSB will develop a ‘global baseline’ for investor-focused sustainability disclosures, while a prototype climate disclosure has published. The news includes that the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) and the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF, which include IIRC and SASB) are to consolidate under the IFRS.
Eric Hespenheide, Interim CEO of GRI, said: “GRI is pleased that the IFRS Foundation has recognized the merits of incorporating sustainability considerations into financial disclosures, through the creation of a sustainability standards board. We also welcome that the reporting organizations with a core focus on investors needs are to come together under one house. We advocate for a comprehensive corporate reporting system, with a two-pillar structure in which robust sustainability and financial reporting are on an equal footing. The sustainability pillar, under which GRI sits, addresses a company’s external impacts on society and the environment, while the financial pillar needs to reflect sustainability risks to a company’s value. Today’s announcement marks a significant step towards strengthening that second pillar. Disclosure on a company’s financially material sustainability topics – while important from the context of helping markets to assess opportunities and risks – is not sufficient to deliver full transparency on sustainability impacts, as envisioned by the GRI Standards and embraced by the EU. Corporate transparency that meets the needs of all stakeholders requires improved connectivity between sustainability and financial reporting. I therefore reiterate once again that GRI stands ready to engage with the IFRS Foundation in support of this aim. We look forward to hearing more about the remit and scope of their new ventures, as well as inputting to the development of the proposed climate standard.”