The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) have announced that they welcome the report released by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on developing a global assurance framework for sustainability-related corporate reporting. The IOSCO report reflects extensive research and feedback from key stakeholders. The report calls for timely development of ethics and assurance standards for sustainability reporting by the IESBA and the IAASB, respectively.

The IESBA and the IAASB have responded to growing demand for high-quality assurance over sustainability-related information to enhance the reliability of corporate reporting by prioritising their projects to develop relevant and complementary standards. Both the IESBA and IAASB will issue public consultations later this year on standards for sustainability ethics and assurance, respectively. Both boards plan to finalise their respective standards in 2024. IOSCO called for widespread outreach to ensure the standards meet the needs of users and benefit from diverse stakeholder input, among other recommendations. Both boards emphasise their commitment to address key considerations and recommendations presented in the IOSCO report.

Commenting on the IOSCO report, IESBA chair, Gabriela Figueiredo Dias, stated: “We appreciate IOSCO’s leadership in coordinating global consistency in sustainability assurance. The ethics standards that the IESBA is developing aim at supporting a robust ethical and independent approach to sustainability reporting and assurance in the public interest. We are involving all stakeholders at an early stage through global and inclusive consultation. We will continue to work collaboratively with IOSCO and other stakeholders to support a globally coordinated approach to ethics and assurance for sustainability reporting.”

IAASB chair, Tom Seidenstein, added: “We share the sense of urgency highlighted in IOSCO’s report, are on track to delivering a high-quality standard on time, and embrace the report’s call for an inclusive process. Our efforts will include outreach to a wide range of stakeholders to ensure our standards are of high quality, meet the needs of users, and are profession-agnostic. The IAASB will intensify external outreach in the second half of 2023 in conjunction with the publication of a draft sustainability assurance standard.”