At COP28, four leading global bodies have called for concerted action to ensure sustainability reporting can help provide better information for those driving climate action across the business world.

They underlined the potential and importance of a global approach to sustainability reporting standards in enabling decision-making, as well to channel more equitable investment.

With the introduction of international sustainability standards from the ISSB – coming into effect in 2024 providing a widely supported reporting baseline – global bodies called for a focus on achieving adoption across the world through the development of skills, capacity and the sharing of knowledge.

Panellists at Sustainability disclosures driving climate action representing ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) highlighted the importance of this approach in meeting the demands of capital markets.

The event also heard of the importance of:

● ensuring sustainability corporate reporting avoids green washing;

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● having maximum harmony between international and national standards; and

● building capacity so preparers and users of reporting have the skills and the knowledge required.

The accountancy profession has a critical role to play in climate action, both to lead long-term value creation within sustainable economies, and to champion responsible practices in the public interest.

At the event held in the ICC Pavilion in the Blue Zone, ACCA chief executive, Helen Brand, said: “Consistent and comparable sustainability reporting will drive change and unlock new opportunities not only for businesses, but for the investor community and other stakeholders.

“The accountancy profession has a central role in harnessing these new standards to drive positive action to combat climate change, to help create a better, more sustainable world.”

Since 2019, IFAC has been working diligently to advocate for international sustainability standards, including calling for the formation of the ISSB.

IFAC president, Asmaa Resmouki, added: “On behalf of my colleagues at IFAC, we are delighted to be able to leverage our significant convening power to bring together the most important stakeholders – including especially the global accountancy profession – to help drive demonstrable climate action.

“We will continue our support of the development, adoption and implementation of the ISSB’s standards by professional accountants globally, and we welcome the role and responsibility that professional accountants have in this endeavour.”

Participation in COP28 is part of a broader effort from the global accountancy profession to engage with the United Nations. IFAC is an official observer organisation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).