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Aug 03, 2023

IAASB unveils general requirements for sustainability reporting standards

The standards will be issued at the end of 2024

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has proposed general requirements for the International Standard on Sustainability Assurance 5000 (ISSA 5000), which focuses on improving sustainability reporting globally.

When approved, ISSA 5000 aims to offer a more comprehensive sustainability assurance standard to all assurance practitioners across the globe.

The proposed standards can be applied to information about all sustainability topics and aspects of topics as well as information prepared in accordance with any sustainability reporting framework, such as TCFD and the International Sustainability Standards Board IFRS S1 and S2.

ISSA 5000 also covers all sustainability information regardless of the mechanism for reporting the information.

Stakeholders have until December 1 to provide feedback and insights on the standard before they are issued at the end of 2024.

External and independent assurance

‘Our proposed ISSA 5000 is a crucial step in enhancing confidence and trust in sustainability reporting,’ says IAASB chair Tom Seidenstein in a statement. ‘This proposal directly responds to the International Organization of Securities Commissions' recommendations and complements the work of other standard setters, including the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants.’

Seidenstein explains how corporate reporting, whether financial or sustainability-focused, is more trusted when it receives ‘external and independent assurance based upon globally accepted standards independently developed in the public interest’.

Josephine Jackson, vice chair and sustainability task force chair of the IAASB, adds that receiving the broadest range of views from our stakeholders will ‘improve both the quality of and trust in the final standard’.

She adds: ‘Our unprecedented commitment to outreach will allow us to engage directly with a much wider group of stakeholders to gather the valuable insights we need to finalize a high-quality robust standard.’