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Nov 14, 2018

Non-financial reporting groups begin work on reporting standards alignment

IIRC-led group to focus on better alignment rather than one-size-fits-all standard

Leading institutions in non-financial reporting – including the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), FASB and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) – have formed a two-year project to drive better alignment between the different frameworks.

This new project, which will be led by the IIRC’s Corporate Reporting Dialogue, will identify similarities and differences between a range of different reporting frameworks in the hope of eliminating overlapping disclosures and data points.

Speaking at the launch event in Sydney last week, Ian Mackintosh, chair of the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, acknowledged that ‘different elements of the corporate reporting system are not working as harmoniously as possible.’ He added that this new group will work to combat reporting fatigue, reduce the reporting burden on issuers and lead to more effective corporate reporting for investors to consume.

The full list of participants is: the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), CDSB, FASB, GRI, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the International Organization for Standardization and SASB.

SASB, GRI and CDP aim to map their frameworks against the Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosure recommendations, which were unveiled by Michael Bloomberg last year. Meanwhile, the IIRC and CDSB will consider how to further integrate non-financial and financial reporting.

Speaking to IR Magazine last week about the launch of SASB’s new reporting framework, Jeffrey Hales, SASB’s chair, said he understands why some issuers have likened the reporting landscape to an alphabet soup.

‘Each of these organizations has its own mission and mandate, and that’s important,’ Hales said. ‘I understand the alphabet soup problem, but we don’t need these organizations to all go away. We just need a better understanding of them. It’s a bit like turning on a TV channel when you’re in a foreign country and not knowing which channel to watch – there are a lot of acronyms and you don’t understand the difference. But the solution isn’t to just have one channel.’

Ben Ashwell

Ben Ashwell was the editor at IR Magazine and Corporate Secretary , covering investor relations, governance, risk and compliance. Prior to this, he was the founder and editor of Executive Talent , the global quarterly magazine from the Association of...