The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has approved a staff proposal for its work plan for the next two years, focusing heavily on supporting companies to implement its recently launched sustainability disclosure standards.

The plan does not, however, commit the board to any rigid roadmap for its activities and is intended instead to allow it to respond to emerging practice from applying the new sustainability reporting rules.

ISSB vice chair Sue Lloyd said: “I think if people think that we’re going to be able to say, you know, we’re going to work on topics ABC and D, and […] at the end of the day, we’re going to have X number of standards, they’re going to be disappointed because I don’t think we’re in a position to make those sorts of decisions or statements now.” 

‘Touch base’ with constituents

Instead, Lloyd said, the agenda consultation was an opportunity for the board to “touch base” with its constituents and seek feedback on the “big picture” and whether the board was working with the right priorities in mind.

All 14 ISSB members voted in favour of the proposed workplan during the 13 March meeting.

Under the plan, the board will prioritise activities that will help businesses understand and apply International Financial Reporting Standard S1 and IFRS S2, the ISSB’s new requirements for general sustainability reporting and climate-related disclosures.

Sue Lloyd at ISSB

Sue Lloyd at ISSB

This includes developing educational materials, addressing implementation questions, and potentially refining the standards based on real-world experience of applying them.

Lower-ranked priorities

While new research and standard-setting projects are included on the agenda, they will share equal priority behind support for implementation with enhancing the existing Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards, which provide important guidance for entities applying IFRS S1.

Importantly, the plan emphasises ongoing collaboration with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) – so-called connectivity – to ensure consistency between financial and sustainability reporting.

This focus on implementation reflects the ISSB’s commitment to establishing a robust foundation for global sustainability reporting.

Goal of wider adoption

By prioritising support for companies using the new standards, the ISSB aims to achieve widespread adoption and ensure investors receive the information they need to make informed decisions, staff explained in their meeting paper.

The ISSB launched the consultation on the shape of its workplan for the next two years last May.

The board asked for feedback on four potential sustainability-related research projects covering biodiversity, ecosystems, and ecosystem services, human capital, human rights and integration of sustainability-related financial information with other financial information.

It also sought views on the relevant priority of the various activities it might undertake over the next two years.

The board is tipped to finalise its agenda discussions by the middle of this year.

Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here