Briefing: A comparative analysis of draft climate disclosure rules and standards

Nov 04, 2022

The UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) published an in-depth analysis of the proposed international, EU and US climate disclosure standards, comparing them both with each other and with the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Review the analysis on the PRI's website.

CAQ S&P 500 10-K analysis

Oct 27, 2022

In October 2022, the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) released an analysis of S&P 500 companies' 10-Ks to understand their SEC filing disclosures regarding climate-related information, greenhouse gas emissions, and net-zero and carbon neutral commitments.

The CAQ looked at the most recent SEC Form 10-K for S&P 500 companies as of June 2022.

They analyzed 10-Ks from S&P 500 companies to understand what companies disclosed in their SEC filing about:

  • Climate-related information (e.g., mention of climate change)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1, 2, and 3)
  • Net-zero and carbon neutral commitment

This analysis was solely focused on information disclosed in an S&P 500 company’s SEC Form 10-K, and does not contemplate climate-related information communicated by companies in information outside of their SEC Form 10-K.

CAQ observed that the majority of S&P 500 companies mention climate-related information in their 10-K.

  • The number of S&P 500 companies mentioning climate-related information in their 10-K increased roughly 18% from a similar analysis of 2020 10-Ks.
  • There were a little over 40 S&P 500 companies that did not mention climate-related information at all in their 10-K.

Review the analysis on the CAQ's website.

Climate Change Case Study

Oct 07, 2022

In September 2022, The Shareholder Commons (TSC) published the case study "Climate Change & The Engagement Gap: Why Investors Must do More than Move the Needle, and How They Can".

The case study demonstrate the gap between company-first ESG advocacy and portfolio-first system stewardship for investors concerned about the harmful impacts of climate change. The study shows that measuring financial success on an enterprise-by-enterprise basis will never motivate companies or asset managers to transition to safe greenhouse gas emission and antimicrobial use budgets. Instead, the case study describe how investors can and should use “guardrails” to hold companies and their executives accountable for their full carbon footprints, even if doing so reduces enterprise value. Only this approach can preserve the long-term value of the diversified portfolios held by pension funds, foundations, endowments, and other institutions working on behalf of everyday savers.

Review the case study on the TSC's website.

Companies, investors and professional accountants call for global alignment in sustainability reporting

Aug 31, 2022

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published on its website a joint statement by 65 organisations calling for stronger alignment of regulatory and standard-setting efforts around sustainability disclosure.

The statement notes that significant efforts by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the European Commission together with the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) are underway, which all aim to address the need to enhance and evolve corporate reporting to include and consider sustainability information. However, current draft standards and initiatives are not technically compatible in terms of concepts, terminologies, and metrics. Therefore, leading financial market participants are asking financial market regulators to avoid regulatory and standard setting fragmentation by aligning on key concepts, terminologies, and metrics on which disclosure requirements are built.

Review the full statement on the IFAC's website.

G7 issues statement on climate disclosures and ISSB’s work

Oct 12, 2022

On October 12, 2022, the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors released a statement underlining economic climate actions and its commitment "to move towards mandatory climate-related financial disclosures that provide consistent and decision-useful information for market participants and [it welcomes] the global baseline of sustainability reporting standards currently under development by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)".

In particular, the G7 stated that ‘support for the global baseline has the potential to improve information and thus mobilise finance for the needed investments, particularly in emerging and developing economies’ and advises the ISSB to work with regional standard setters and local stakeholders during the advisory period.

Review the press release on the G7 presidency's website.

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors statement on upcoming ISSB Standards

Oct 18, 2022

The G20 issued a meeting summary of the Fourth G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting held in Washington DC on October 12–13, 2022.

In particular, the G20 discussed that “globally consistent data are needed in order to effectively address climate-related financial risks” and are looking “forward to the finalization of standards by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) in support of globally consistent, comparable and reliable climate-related financial disclosures, and its work beyond climate.” In addition, the G20 welcomes “the efforts to achieve interoperability across disclosure frameworks.”

Review the G20 meeting summary on the G20’s website.

IESBA Issues Staff Publication Highlighting the Relevance and Applicability of the IESBA Code in Combatting Greenwashing

Oct 21, 2022

On October 21, 2022, the Staff of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) released a Questions & Answers (Q&A) publication, "Ethics Considerations in Sustainability Reporting, Including Guidance to Address Concerns about Greenwashing". The publication highlights the relevance and applicability of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code) to ethics-related challenges in the context of sustainability reporting and assurance, especially circumstances involving misleading or false sustainability information (i.e., “greenwashing”).

Among other matters, the publication spotlights key provisions in the Code that apply in preparing and presenting sustainability information. It emphasizes the professional accountant’s obligation to be straightforward and honest and refrain from being associated with information that is misleading or false, including in situations where they might experience pressure to do so.

The publication is intended to assist professional accountants, especially those in business, but might also be of interest to other professionals involved in preparing sustainability reports or disclosures. It will also be useful to regulators and audit oversight bodies, policy makers, investors, those charged with governance, national standard setters, professional accountancy organizations, and others with an interest in the work of professional accountants and in sustainability reporting and assurance.

Review the press release and publication on the IESBA's website.

IFRS Foundation announces second ISSB Vice-Chair

Aug 31, 2022

On August 31, 2022, the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation announced the appointment of Jingdong Hua as ISSB Board member. He will also act as the second Vice-Chair of the ISSB.

Mr. Hua is the former Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank, where his responsibilities included green bond initiatives and sustainable finance capacity-building programmes. He has also previously served as Deputy Treasurer of the Asian Development Bank and has held positions at the United Nations Development Programme and the African Development Bank. In his role as Vice-Chair, Mr Hua will oversee the development and implementation of the ISSB’s strategies to support and include stakeholders in emerging and developing economies as well as small and medium-sized companies.

Review the press release announcing the appointment on the IFRS Foundation's website.

IFRS Foundation announces two additional ISSB members

Jul 14, 2022

On July 14, 2022, the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation announced the appointment of Tae-Young Paik and Elizabeth Seeger as ISSB Board members. The press release notes that the appointment of the remaining Board members is at an "advanced stage".

Dr. Paik has worked as an academic and policy advisor on accounting and sustainability matters for over 30 years both in Korea and internationally. He currently serves as professor of accounting at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul and chair of the Sustainability Evaluation and Disclosure Committee in the G7 Korea Impact Alliance. He recently completed a presidency of the Korea Accounting Association.

Ms. Seeger joins the ISSB from global investment firm KKR, where she has served as Managing Director, Sustainable Investing, responsible for helping oversee the firm's consideration of sustainability matters throughout KKR’s investment process. Since 2017 she has also served as a member of the SASB Standards Board.

Both Dr. Paik and Ms. Seeger are appointed for a three-year term, effective July and November 2022, respectively.

Review the press release announcing the appointments on the IFRS Foundation's website.

IFRS Foundation announces three additional ISSB members

Aug 23, 2022

On August 23, 2022, the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation announced the appointment of Jenny Bofinger-Schuster, Hiroshi Komori and Veronika Pountcheva as ISSB Board members.

Ms. Bofinger-Schuster joins the ISSB from Siemens, where she has served as Senior Vice President for sustainability and operational excellence, with responsibility for developing the company’s sustainability strategy and for implementing new disclosure requirements. She has been appointed for a five-year term beginning on December 1, 2022.

Mr. Komori served as Senior Director and Head of the Stewardship and ESG Division at the Government Pension Investment Fund in Japan, where he developed the investor engagement and participation in international sustainability initiatives. He has been appointed for a three-year term beginning on September 1, 2022.

Ms. Pountcheva joins the ISSB from METRO, where she served as Senior Vice President of corporate responsibility and Co-chief Executive Officer of NX Food, with responsibility for developing the company’s long-term sustainability strategy. She has been appointed for a five-year term beginning on October 1, 2022.

Review the press release announcing the appointments on the IFRS Foundation's website.

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