The EU’s accounting advisory body received an “unprecedented” large number of applications to join the expert working groups that will feed into the development of draft EU corporate sustainability reporting standards.

EFRAG today said it received more than 250 applications in response to the call for candidates that it launched on 25 August, and that the “large interest is very encouraging”. A reminder about applications was issued in early September.

EFRAG said the applications were being analysed under the supervision of Jean Paul Gauzès, the president of the board of EFRAG.

“During the selection process strong emphasis will be given to identifying candidates with high level of expertise and experience on the specific areas and topics listed in the call for candidates whilst respecting a proper nationality, gender and background balance,” it said.

EFRAG said the selection process was slightly delayed due to the large number of applications to consider and that a public announcement about the composition of the working groups was not expected before the end of the month.

The job of the expert working groups will be to review and provide feedback to a “preliminary pre-exposure draft version” of the reporting standards, which the relevant EFRAG task force has previously said is being targeted for delivery by mid-October.

From then to early 2022 will be an “intensive period,” EFRAG said in its call for applications, meaning that candidates “should be able and committed to make significant time and own resources available during this period, in particular when documents are presented to them for input”.

The plan has been to set up 11 expert working groups, with an indicative size of three to six experts each.

Last month the project task force on EU sustainability reporting standards published a proposed climate standard prototype and a paper elaborating on the thinking behind it

The standards in question are for the corporate sustainability reporting legislation that has been proposed by the European Commission as part of its sustainable finance action plan. Investors have long been saying they were being asked to report information they didn’t have from companies themselves, and that this needed to be fixed.

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