The manager of Norway’s NOK14trn (€1.2trn) sovereign wealth fund is commending plans from the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) to establish globally-accepted standards for assurance on sustainability reporting.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) said in a consultation response published yesterday that such standards would play a key role in enhancing the quality of ESG information provided to markets and used by investors and other stakeholders.

In a letter to the IAASB about its consultation on its proposed strategy and work plan for 2024-27, NBIM said: “Reliability and credibility of information provided in companies’ sustainability reports is crucial for us as a global investor.”

Carine Smith Ihenacho, NBIM’s chief governance and compliance officer, and Elisa Cencig, senior ESG policy adviser, wrote that many companies were still getting to grips with sustainability reporting, so flexible, principle-based standards were particularly important to enable newcomers to become familiar with the practice.

Commenting on the IAASB’s proposals for the development of further standards for assurance on sustainability reporting beyond the overarching ISSA 5000 standard, NBIM said analysis of the market’s response to such standards could help to identify which aspects needed more granular requirements.

The Oslo-based investment manager said it supported the IAASB’s intention to improve coordination with other standard setters: “Coordination with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is particularly important given the rapidly evolving nature of sustainability reporting standards, and the need to ensure that they are assurable.”

In February, the ISSB fixed the date of 1 January 2024 for its first two sustainability reporting standards to enter into effect.

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