The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) have announced their intention to merge into the Value Reporting Foundation, a unified organisation providing investors and corporates with a comprehensive corporate reporting framework.

The Value Reporting Foundation will merge SASB and IIRC into an international organisation that maintains the Integrated Reporting Framework and sets sustainability disclosure standards for enterprise value creation. The merger responds to calls from global investors and corporates to simplify the corporate reporting landscape.

When formed by mid-2021, the Value Reporting Foundation will be led by Janine Guillot, current SASB CEO. Commenting on the merger, Guillot said: “Sustainability disclosure is at the top of the agenda for many, creating incredible momentum towards simplifying the corporate reporting landscape.  By merging two organisations focused on enterprise value creation, we hope to clarify the field. We stand ready to engage with the efforts of the IFRS Foundation, IOSCO, EFRAG, and others working towards global alignment on a corporate reporting system.”

The merger will progress the work of the CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC, and SASB in the Statement of Intent to Work Together Towards Comprehensive Corporate Reporting, which outlines a ‘vision’ for a comprehensive corporate reporting system.

The Value Reporting Foundation could eventually integrate other entities focused on enterprise value creation, and the Foundation and CDSB have both expressed exploratory discussions in the coming months.

The Value Reporting Foundation will be headquartered in London and San Francisco with staff based across the globe. Charles Tilley will serve as senior advisor through 2021, partnering with Guillot on the integration of SASB and the IIRC. Richard Sexton of the IIRC and Robert Steel of SASB will co-chair the board of the value reporting Foundation. Mary Schapiro and Helen Brand will serve as vice chairs.

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Commenting on the merger, IIRC board chair Barry Melancon said: "The Framework and the SASB Standards are complementary. Integrated reporting describes all relevant value creation topics and the approach to integrating them in corporate thought and reporting.  SASB provides the precise definitions of the data that should be reported for these topics in each industry.  Organisations globally already use both to communicate effectively with investors about how sustainability issues are connected to long-term enterprise value, with these endeavours ultimately benefitting other key stakeholders. Under the Value Reporting Foundation, we will link the concepts between the Framework and SASB Standards even further.”

Tilley said: “This merger is a significant advancement towards building a comprehensive system of corporate reporting, as we work to ensure integrated reporting and sustainability disclosure have the same level of rigor as financial accounting and disclosure. But reporting should never be for reporting's sake. Our focus is on ensuring businesses have effective governance over enterprise value creation factors and that investors are able to fulfil their role as stewards. We will continue to advance integrated thinking to achieve this.”

Commenting, Brand said: ‘The formation of the Value Reporting Foundation is an important step forward in simplifying the corporate reporting landscape, unifying the considerable expertise of two organisations that clearly align on the sustainability and corporate reporting agendas. I am honoured and pleased to be serving on the new organisation’s Board as Vice Chair alongside Mary Schapiro.

“Since its creation, the IIRC has worked tirelessly to develop and deliver the <IR> Framework, which ACCA has used in our own integrated annual report since its launch in 2013. And the SASB standards align closely with this. We see this move as a complementary one which will maintain the <IR> Framework and place value at the heart of corporate reporting.

“I look forward to working with Janine Guillot, who will be CEO of the Value Reporting Foundation, Charles Tilley as special adviser, the Foundation Board and the <IR> Framework Committee on this merger to create a global organisation that will maintain the <IR> framework, ensure aligned and integrated thinking, and set sustainability disclosure standards for value creation.”