2020 saw significant momentum build for non-financial (sustainability) standards. The year kicked off with a paper from Accountancy Europe proposing that a new sustainability standards board be launched under the auspices of the IFRS Foundation, and ended with the IFRS consulting on just that.
In the months between, digital, comparable standards for sustainability data garnered vocal support from the World Economic Forum, IFAC, and the IMF, amongst many others. Europe’s review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) received responses supporting new, digital non-financial standards, which are now being explored by EFRAG. Existing sustainability disclosure frameworks also announced a welcome closer alignment, and SASB went a step further by building an XBRL taxonomy for its 77 standards.
Finally, as support for the IFRS’ proposed Sustainability Standards Board rolls in, the importance of digital, international standards based on a single XBRL taxonomy, something we have long stressed at XBRL International, has been increasingly recognised. International, digital standards based on an XBRL taxonomy are a crucial step to ensuring that sustainability data is accurate, comparable and useful for anyone looking to understand climate-risk or invest in a more sustainable direction. We hope to see the rapid progress on these standards continue into 2021, with the caveat that any standards developed need to be tightly co-ordinated, must not overlap and should be developed with comparability first in mind.