Hot Topic | April 2022

 

Insight

Proposed IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards

An in-depth look at the first exposure drafts issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board.

Julie Santoro

Julie Santoro

Partner, Dept. of Professional Practice, KPMG US

+1 212-954-1086

New proposals on the first IFRS® Sustainability Disclosure Standards mark the next step toward equal prominence for international sustainability and financial reporting. The proposals aim to create a global baseline for investor-focused sustainability reporting that local jurisdictions can build on.

Applicability

  • US companies monitoring international ESG reporting developments

Relevant dates

The proposals are open for comment until 29 July 2022; the subsequent standards may be issued as soon as the second half of 2022. 

Key impacts

The first two proposals of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards are now available – covering general requirements and climate-related disclosures. They are based on existing frameworks and standards, including TCFD and SASB.

"The upcoming IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards provide a compass for companies and investors, pointing to consistency and comparability in sustainability disclosures. Credible ESG reporting is rooted in a comprehensive story that connects financial performance with rigorously tracked metrics and transparent progress on your environmental, social and governance activities. Every company – public or private, US or global – will be able to use the ISSB as a starting point for its journey. For more mature reporters, these standards will help bring order to the chaos. In the end, access to capital will depend on how you articulate your ESG performance. Prepare. Now."

— Maura Hodge, KPMG IMPACT Audit Leader


What’s the impact?

  • Companies applying these standards will need processes and controls in place to provide sustainability information of the same quality and timeliness as their financial information.
  • Getting ready now is critical even if the final standards are not identical to the exposure drafts. Companies that are already producing similar sustainability-related information are likely to find reporting under the final standards easier, even if the information is not published.

 

What’s next?

  • These first standards could be finalized by the end of 2022.
  • Individual jurisdictions will decide whether and when to adopt the standards. However, with strong support from the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), a rapid route to full adoption is expected in a number of jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, the standards will provide a baseline.
  • Some public and private companies may choose to adopt them voluntarily – e.g. in response to investor or societal pressure.

As a US company, why should you pay attention?

  • In March 2022, the SEC released its proposed climate rules, The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. Our talk book, Digesting the SEC’s climate proposal, answers our Top 10 questions about the SEC’s rulemaking proposal – what the proposal would require and how it may impact companies.
  • The SEC’s climate proposal is not identical to the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards climate proposal, but there appears to be significant commonality in the industry-agnostic disclosures, including in leveraging the framework of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
  • Market demand toward a global baseline: a company may be called on, or may decide voluntarily, to comply with the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.

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