Yesterday the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) launched its inaugural standards for corporate reporting on sustainability and climate risks, opportunities, and disclosures. IEMA’s climate change and energy policy and engagement lead Chloë Fiddy sets out why this matters to IEMA members.

One-third of global capital flows are across national borders, and this proportion is growing. The International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) sets globally accepted accounting standards, designed to provide transparency and consistency of financial reporting across jurisdictions. The common language for reporting on finance boosts the overall economic efficiency of these transactions. Decisions can be made based on data already presented to a standardized format, rather than requiring an interim stage for ‘translation’ and interpretation.

Globally, we’re now well past the period in which climate change can be viewed as a problem for the future. It’s changing right now, and its effects are landing on corporate balance sheets. Accurate and consistently reported data on its impact is becoming a critical element of financial decision making but reporting requirements until now have not been consistent across borders.

With around 145 jurisdictions now mandating the IFRS standards for financial reporting, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) was ideally placed to pick up the challenge of setting a comprehensive standard for reporting on sustainability and climate risks via its International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

The result is a clearly articulated set of main principles that are accompanied by very detailed guidelines often helpfully illustrated by examples. The core content will not be new to organisations reporting under the guidelines and recommendations set out by the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), however adding the weight of the IFRS pushes them further into the international mainstream. There is an expectation that jurisdictions around the world, such as the EU, the USA, and the UK will include them in their regulatory frameworks.

How does this help IEMA members?

First, for those already preparing or using reports under TCFD, it serves as a validation of the work they’re doing and of their skills and competencies.

Second, this moves sustainability and climate reporting one step further away from being a collection of data easily greenwashed, with material facts obscured by the immaterial, and with end results being incomparable with reports by other organisations. The big push being made here is the enhancement of the qualitative characteristics of the reports including their comparability. The more that sustainability and climate standards are standardized and made transparent, the easier they’ll be to use and the more useful they will be. The more useful they are the more likely they are to be required.

It's possible that eventually, it may not matter if some jurisdictions do not require their implementation – the capital markets may effectively make their own rules about where to move money, and organisations may have to conform so as to be at the table when the deals are made. Naturally, the more they are required, the more specialists will be needed to prepare them.

Third and finally, the knock-on benefits of this go wider than just a need for more report writers. The reports will require more than just data on risks, critically they will require sound underlying evidence of forward-looking corporate governance which has sustainability and climate at its heart. This means that all employees of these organisations will effectively be working in green jobs – a call that IEMA has long been championing.

Read more about our campaign for the need for a rapid expansion of skills and training in sustainable practices and technologies to be added to the final cover text of the COP28 meeting.

Discover IEMA’s new Green Careers Hub which provides access to information and opportunities around green skills, jobs, and careers. This is a platform anybody, from any sector or background, can use to understand the role they can play in greening the economy.

Photo of Chloe 033
Chloë Fiddy

Policy and Engagement Lead

Chloë is the Policy and Engagement Lead for Climate Change and Energy and Social Sustainability at IEMA. Within this remit she works on projects relating to greenhouse gas reporting and transition planning and reporting, including adaptation, as well as social sustainability and just transition issues. She is particularly interested in finding practical solutions and approaches which lead to standardised, replicable and trustworthy reporting, so that decision-makers have better data to work with. Previously Chloë has worked at senior levels in the manufacturing and retail sectors, and in climate and sustainable development planning roles in the public sector.

Her prior business experience and her understanding of the way that the public sector functions inform her approach to climate change and energy and social sustainability policy and engagement at IEMA. She is a Trustee on the board of Uttlesford Citizens Advice and a District Councillor and is active in her community. In her spare time she enjoys live music and cooking for family and friends.


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