The trustees of the IFRS Foundation have indicated a possible announcement on the establishment of a sustainability standards board on the occasion of the UN climate change conference later this year.

In September last year the trustees launched a consultation on sustainability reporting to assess appetite for global sustainability reporting standards and for it to play a role in the development of such standards, possibly with the Foundation setting up a sustainability standards board.

In a statement yesterday, the trustees said they had reviewed the responses to the first three questions asked by the consultation at a meeting on Monday, and that these showed “growing and urgent demand for improvement in the global consistency and comparability in sustainability reporting, as well as strong recognition that urgent steps needed to be taken and broad demand for the IFRS Foundation to play a role”.

They said that in light of the demand, they had agreed to carry out further detailed analysis of feedback on the requirements for success and other conditions to be satisfied before considering whether to establish a separate, sustainability reporting standards board.

According to their statement, they also agreed to form a steering committee to oversee the next phases of work, and added an additional key requirement for success – “being the need for urgency to deliver global standards, most notably on climate”.

The trustees’  next meeting is scheduled for 2-4 March. Citing “growing and urgent”, they said the intention would be for them to produce a definitive proposal, including a roadmap with timeline, by the end of September this year, “and possibly leading to an announcement on the establishment of a sustainability standards board at the UN climate change conference COP26 in November 2021”.

Martijn Bos, policy advisor for reporting and audit at Dutch institutional investor group Eumedion, said the trustees’ statement illustrated the Foundation’s “growing willingness” to establish a sustainability standards board.

“The statement not only records the call from stakeholders for swift action, but indirectly also acknowledges the need for swift action at the Foundation itself, as this statement is made well ahead of the early March trustees meeting,” he told IPE.

“It even includes an ambitious preliminary timetable for next steps. So we are very pleased with the statement and eagerly look forward to the outcomes of the upcoming meeting of the trustees.”

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