International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) chairwoman Gabriela Figueiredo Dias says the organisation is considering the development of ‘profession-agnostic standards’ for sustainability assurance. This is because jurisdictions such as the US and the EU are considering allowing all assurance providers, whether inside or outside the accounting profession, to provide such services. ‘IESBA is ready to make available high-quality ethics and independence standards that are usable by any assurance providers,’ Figueiredo Dias says.
IESBA has also released guidance on how accountants and their firms should avoid breaches of ethical and regulatory rules generated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The guidance explains how firms and accountants can take steps to avoid working with sanctioned clients from Russia and its ally Belarus.
The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has started detailed work on helping smaller companies apply its draft standards on general disclosures and climate reporting. A board meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, discussed how it could give more consideration to the capabilities and preparedness of entities around the world in applying the proposals. Measures could include exempting certain reporters from disclosure requirements based on scalability-related criteria. The board also discussed providing materials to assist preparers in the application of the standards, including guidance.
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) have said better financial data is needed to enable companies and public bodies to achieve net-zero emissions goals. Speaking at the Climate Week event in New York, IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey said: ‘The quality of sustainability-related data and reporting processes must be improved to meet the demands of investors, regulators and policymakers, and the urgency of the climate crisis itself.’
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (Iosco) has backed the work by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and IESBA to deliver assurance systems for sustainability-related corporate reporting.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has launched an initiative to better integrate human rights-based labour policy guidance into its standards. To take the plan forward, GRI’s governing Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) has appointed a technical committee of representatives from the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and trade unions. The committee will seek to incorporate decent conditions and treatment for workers into GRI standards on the basis of the UN’s guiding principles on business and human rights.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) has said that feedback on a consultation on whether it should develop public sector sustainability reporting standards has urged global cooperation on the issue. The IPSASB says the feedback ‘strongly encouraged collaboration between IPSASB and other international standard-setters, particularly the ISSB and the GRI, to ensure that new guidance addresses public sector needs’. The board will decide in 2023 on whether to proceed with developing standards.
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has released amendments to IFRS 16 on leases, explaining how companies should record the sale and leaseback of assets. The new guidance says these transactions should be recorded after a sale and leaseback arrangement is struck; the unamended standard only covered the accounting for the initial deal.