The IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) Foundation launched a consultation on the next agenda items for the ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board). The ISSB was formed by the IFRS at COP 26 in Glasgow to develop standards ‘that will result in a high-quality, comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures focused on the needs of investors and the financial markets’. Policy and Engagement Lead for biodiversity and natural capital, Lesley Wilson, tells us more.

In June this year, the ISSB issued its first two standards: IFRS S1 which provides a set of disclosure requirements designed to enable companies to communicate to investors about the sustainability-related risks and opportunities they face over the short, medium and long term; and IFRS S2 which sets out specific climate-related disclosures and is designed to be used with IFRS S1.

Over the summer, the IFRS released a consultation on the priorities for the next activities of the IFRS and the ISSB. Questions included: what kind of activities should be undertaken (for example, standard-setting projects, supporting the implementation of IFRS S1 and S2, and enhancing the ISSB board itself); criteria for assessing new publications; and possible new research or standards around biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystems services (BEES).

It is widely recognised that there is a global biodiversity crisis. Developments in regulations and voluntary standards over the last 18 months have helped to increase the visibility and importance of BEES to businesses and their investors, in particular, the 23 targets agreed under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, with target 15 of particular relevance for the IFRS. Alongside there have been developments in Natural Capital Accounting including the release of standard BS 8632 Natural Capital Accounting for Organisations. However, biodiversity and natural capital are not mentioned in either of the sustainability standards IFRS S1 and S2.

The deadline for comments was 1 September 2023 and the IEMA Biodiversity and Natural Capital Network Steering Group helped to create the following two central recommendations:

  • The priorities for the next projects undertaken by the ISSB/IFRS should be on biodiversity, ecosystems, and ecosystem services to create either a new standard or guidance/further requirements that act as a ‘bolt on’ to the current standards.
  • The ISSB/IFRS should support reporting methods already published and used by organisations such as the TNFD to create consistency and confidence for businesses to report.

We await the outcome of the consultation from the IFRS/ISSB and will keep IEMA members updated. The full response with more details on the response to this consultation can be found here.

Photo of Lesley
Lesley Wilson

Policy and Engagement Lead

Lesley is Policy and Engagement Lead at IEMA with a focus on biodiversity and natural capital. Lesley also supports IEMA’s role as Secretariat to the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum, working with businesses to raise the profile of, mainstream, and share good practice in, biodiversity. Lesley joined IEMA in December 2021 after 11 years delivering projects, programmes and solutions for business in the field of environmental sustainability for the British Standards Institution (BSI), including ground breaking standards in biodiversity net gain and natural capital. Lesley has a qualification in business management (MBA) and climate change management, and mentors environmental students at the University of Westminster.


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