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IFAC Continues to Convene and Lead Global Discussion on Sustainability Assurance; New Publication Focuses on “What to Expect”

#IFAC #Sustainability #MobilizingSustainability

Jun 26, 2024 | Belle Mare, Mauritius | English

As part of its ongoing initiative to convene, inform and mobilize sustainability reporting and assurance stakeholders, IFAC, the voice for the global accountancy profession, today released Sustainability Assurance: What to Expect.

IFAC Chief Executive Officer Lee White said, “We are in the midst of a significant global transformation as businesses seek opportunities and ways to respond to sustainability-related challenges. Professional accountants are absolutely crucial in this transformation, and have an important public interest role to play. Our profession has a mature competency in analyzing and interpreting data, and the ability to use it to successfully innovate and introduce new business models.”

Mr. White continued, “Companies are working diligently to develop their governance structures and the processes, systems and controls needed to support sustainability reporting and assurance. Investors and other users of this information should expect, at least initially, that sustainability assurance engagements may be different from what occurs with financial reporting. For example, I expect that assurance reports may include modifications, which would be reflective of the transformation that is occurring.”

Policymakers and regulators around the world are moving with pace to introduce essential requirements for sustainability reporting and assurance. At the same time, IFAC encourages accountants to embrace their pivotal role in this transformation, and we remind all stakeholders that the application of reporting and assurance requirements will take time to mature.

We have been an early advocate for a harmonized, global system for the disclosure of sustainability-related information, and we continue to coordinate with other international organizations, including the IFRS Foundation, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), and IOSCO in pursuit of this goal. We were pleased to participate at IOSCO’s annual meeting in Athens last month, where we took the opportunity to recognize the swift progress made by the IFRS Foundation and the ISSB in coalescing more than 20 jurisdictions, representing over half the world’s GDP, in the decision to introduce the ISSB standards in their legal or regulatory frameworks.

We invite organizations to reach out to us with opportunities for further collaboration. We also encourage producers and users of sustainability-related information to engage with one another to further a shared understanding of and commitment to high-quality sustainability assurance.

Finally, we call for sustainability assurance engagements to be conducted in accordance with the global standards being developed by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) to help ensure high-quality assurance.

Sustainability Assurance: What to Expect can be downloaded for free on our website.

About IFAC
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 180 members and associates in more than 135 jurisdictions, representing millions of professional accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce