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Canadian overview of ESG disclosure

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04 Feb 2014

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and the Toronto Stock Exchange have published an overview of environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure. The document outlines key concepts, discusses why users are interested in ESG information and the impacts of capital providers and insurers on setting the ESG agenda, and provides an overview of the various regulatory and reporting frameworks available for ESG disclosure.

The document, A Primer for Environmental and Social Disclosure outlines several reasons as to why environmental and social issues are gaining increasing focus by corporate entities, including:

  • positive 'bottom line' benefits, such as cost savings, staff resourcing advantages, improved risk management and corporate reputational benefits
  • increasing pressure from investors, financial institutions, insurers, customers, governments and others for the disclosure of information and action on environmental and social issues
  • specific information needs of long term investors who face more exposure to an investee's risk profile and need more information about risk management.

The document:

  • provides a high-level overview of key business conduct principles arising from such sources as the United Nations Global Compact, ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • outlines jurisdictional developments in Canada and other countries, and discusses the frameworks currently used by Canadian entities for their corporate social responsibility or sustainability reports, such as Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Carbon Disclosure Project.
  • includes developing initiatives in the broader ESG space, such as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), the International Integrated Reporting (<IR>) Framework of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative and the United States Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

The document is available on the CPA Canada website.

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