The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is revising its standards on reporting human rights and related due diligence issues. Expected to be released later this year, the new standards will, for instance, detail actions to identify, prioritise, prevent and mitigate negative impacts of human rights problems. The work will be conducted by the GRI’s independent standard-setting body, the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), which is also developing standards for measuring and dealing with child labour, forced labour, freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has recommended that bodies developing integrated standards on sustainability reporting should take a ‘building blocks’ approach. The first block should be investor-focused, looking at financially relevant information about environmental or social liabilities and benefits to create ‘enterprise-value’ reporting systems. Once this has been completed, the second block should focus on multiple stakeholders, broadening out the reporting to ‘disclosures, indicators and contextual information addressing sustainable development, impacts or public policy objectives’.
The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has welcomed the European Union’s proposed corporate sustainability reporting directive (released in April), stressing that it will ‘help businesses provide decision-useful, reliable and comparable information’ on sustainability issues. The IIRC says the EU proposals would stress the importance of intangible assets and relationships in value creation, ‘putting sustainability disclosure on an equal footing with financial information’.
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has launched a project to develop reporting standards for the growing non-animal food manufacturing sector, which creates vegetarian alternatives to meat, poultry and dairy. The SASB wants to help manufacturers and retailers in the sector offer investors decision-useful information.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) has unveiled comprehensive proposals to reform how government and other public sector bodies measure their assets and liabilities, issuing four exposure drafts to address key conceptual challenges and practical implementation issues. Exposure draft 76 proposes a measurement hierarchy of straightforward principles that apply throughout IPSAS and align with the Conceptual Framework. Exposure draft 77 encompasses generic guidance on fair value assessments for the first time. Exposure draft 78 offers guidance and measurement options for valuing heritage and infrastructure in the form of property, plant and equipment assets. Exposure draft 79 addresses non-current assets held for sale and discontinued operations. The system will enable public bodies to avoid focusing only on assets that deliver operational capacity.
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has released changes to IAS12, the international accounting standard on income tax, that would make companies report deferred taxes on leases and decommissioning obligations. At present, the standard allows companies to exclude these declarations from tax returns. The new rules cover annual reporting periods starting from 1 January 2023.
The IASB has made a provisional decision to require organisations to disclose information (in notes to annual accounts) about the maximum potential dilution of their ordinary shares. This includes information on the maximum number of additional ordinary shares that might be released after an accounting deadline.
The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has warned that the end of the Covid pandemic may fuel ethical challenges for accounting professionals. According to a report released by an IESBA-led working group, the uneven international recovery from Covid could create regulatory contrasts between jurisdictions, increasing accounting complexity. With some companies struggling to hit reporting deadlines, accountants may be pressured to help clients deliver hasty audits, for instance.
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has warned that regulators have failed to ensure the development of business continuity plans for trading venues and market intermediaries. Such plans are supposed to offer blueprints for dealing with major external disruptions (such as cyberattacks and commercial failures), following 2015 IOSCO guidance.