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 As the global voice of the accountancy profession, IFAC has long supported the establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to develop a comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures, endorsed by IOSCO, and used around the world. The goal is a global system for consistent, comparable, reliable, and assurable sustainability information that can be complemented by regional standards or broader public policy needs.

IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey recently applauded the ISSB for releasing its first two sustainability standards, answering stakeholders’ calls to move quickly, to focus on the needs of investors and capital markets, and to build upon existing and respected frameworks and standards.

It is now incumbent on the accounting profession to advocate for and implement these standards so that high-quality corporate reporting of sustainability-related information becomes a reality. To that end, IFAC has prepared a number of resources related to sustainability to facilitate action on sustainability reporting. They include:

A Deep Dive into Sustainability Assurance Engagements

This study, part of the State of Play Series, enhances understanding of current market practice for the assurance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG or sustainability) information, with a focus on who conducts assurance engagements, what standards are used, the scope of disclosure being assured, and how various assurance practitioners apply internationally recognized standards set by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB).

The results of this research are intended to inform regulators, policy makers, standard setters, and all assurance practitioners about global trends and current market practice. As the reporting and assurance of sustainability information evolves from voluntary to mandatory requirements, important decisions about who will conduct assurance, how these engagements will be overseen, and what scope of information will be assured, using what standards, must be made.

The State of Play Series

The State of Play in Sustainability Assurance benchmarking study captures and analyzes the extent to which companies are reporting and obtaining assurance over their sustainability disclosures, which assurance standards are being used, and which companies are providing the assurance service. The 2019-2021 Trends & Analysis report marks our third annual benchmarking study of global practice in sustainability disclosure and its assurance.

Sustainability Assurance Hub

Sustainability-related disclosure is finally taking its rightful place within the corporate reporting ecosystem, through global and jurisdiction-specific initiatives. In order to be trusted, sustainability disclosure must be subject to high-quality, independent, external assurance.

This vision addresses the importance of global standards, regulation that supports decision-useful disclosure, and the value of an interconnected approach to sustainability and financial information reporting and assurance.