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Disconnects Found in UK Firms’ Sustainability and Financial Reporting

Examples of disconnects and inconsistencies between sustainability and financial reporting by FTSE 350 firms have been compiled by the UK body responsible for adopting international accounting standards. The report, published by the UK Endorsement Board (UKEB), included several cases where firms’ targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions did not appear to have been factored into key aspects of their financial statements, including impairment assessments. For one firm in the electricity sector, UKEB noted: “While there is disclosure of there being no impairment indicators identified in relation to gas and oil properties, it is not clear whether the targets were considered or not, or whether any aspects of climate risk were considered.”. As well as emissions reduction targets, other areas covered included property, plant, equipment, and intangible assets, as well as commitments and contingencies. UKEB analysed the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting disclosures as well as “other relevant sustainability information” contained in nine 2022 annual reports. The report is part of UKEB’s response to a request for information by the International Sustainability Standards Board and also provides input to the International Accounting Standards Board’s Climate-related risks in Financial Statements project. UKEB said it sought to promote awareness of potential issues “regarding connectivity between sustainability and financial reporting”, rather than drawing any representative conclusions on the quality of reporting. The report also included feedback from stakeholders on possible reasons for disclosure or non-disclosure of sustainability information in financial statements, and the likely impact of ISSB climate and general sustainability disclosure standards.

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