Keith Nuthall is a journalist specialising in international organisations, law and regulation


The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has proposed an International Standard on Sustainability Assurance. Released for public consultation, ISSA 5000, General Requirements for Sustainability Assurance Engagements, is designed to guide limited and reasonable assurance engagements on sustainability information. It is designed to mesh with reporting standards from the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the European Union (EU), and others. Profession-agnostic, ISSA 5000 will support both accountant and non-accountant practitioners undertaking sustainability assurance engagements.

The European Commission has released the first European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). If backed by the European parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers, ESRS will become mandatory for all EU-listed companies except micro-businesses, with sustainability reporting starting from 2025. The European Commission has cut the number of reporting requirements proposed under the original model drafted by the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (Efrag).

The ISSB has welcomed attempts to dovetail ESRS with its own new sustainability standards. However, the EU system differs in that companies report on their impacts on people and the environment, and on how social and environmental issues create financial risks and opportunities for the company – ‘double materiality’. ISSB standards focus on financial materiality.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has still not confirmed its own US sustainability reporting standard, which had been expected in April. Former SEC commissioner Robert Jackson has predicted this will now be released in autumn 2023. The SEC has not confirmed a date.

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (Iosco) has called on its members (which include the SEC) ‘to consider ways in which they might adopt, apply or otherwise be informed by the ISSB standard’. The endorsement has been welcomed as a ‘landmark and a historical achievement’ by Erkki Liikanen, chair of the IFRS Foundation trustees. ‘Varying voluntary standards and frameworks have caused fragmentation and even confusion to investors and companies,’ he explained.

The ISSB has released a detailed note comparing its new S1 and S2 standards with those of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The ISSB drew on TCFD work in developing its standards.

The FSB has released a roadmap detailing anticipated steps over the next two years for creating a holistic international sustainability reporting system, involving the ISSB, Iosco, IAASB and others.

The ISSB has proposed an IFRS sustainability disclosure taxonomy for public comment, laying down detailed technical guidance on how corporations should report under the first two standards issued by the board, IFRS S1 and IFRS S2. The taxonomy includes common definitions of words and systems for adding information, such as tagging additional details. The goal is to ‘improve the global accessibility and comparability of sustainability information for investors’, said the ISSB.

Internal audit

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) – the provider of standards, certifications, education, research and technical guidance for the internal audit profession – is updating its International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) and rebranding its International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing as Global Internal Audit Standards. The standards will include additional topical requirements now under consideration, such as cybersecurity, fraud risk management, IT governance, privacy risks and sustainability.


The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has backed in principle amending IAS 28, Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures. Its proposals include allowing as evidence of impairment the price an investor pays to purchase an additional interest in an associate, or a selling price that is lower than the carrying amount of the investment.