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IAASB Speeds up Consultation on Sustainability Assurance Standard

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has confirmed its intention to advance the consultation on its proposed new standard for sustainability assurance, the International Standard on Sustainability Assurance (ISSA) 5000. This standard will be a standalone, overarching standard suitable for both limited and reasonable assurance of information reported across any sustainability topics. Subject to expected approval of the exposure draft in June, stakeholders can now expect the public consultation on the proposed standard to open in the latter part of July or early August 2023 and extend into December 2023. The consultation was originally scheduled to commence in October 2023. The new timeline aims to support the IAASB in gaining broad and early input into the development of ISSA 5000, and better ensure the completion of the final standard in 2024. The International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) highlighted the importance of having ISSA 5000 developed in accordance with due process and ready in 2024 to support a global baseline for sustainability reporting and assurance standards that meets the public interest. During the consultation process, the IAASB will continue to coordinate closely with the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) as the IESBA progresses its project to develop ethics and independence standards for sustainability reporting and assurance. This will ensure that the IESBA and IAASB’s collective efforts provide an integrated package of ethics and assurance standards for sustainability by the end of 2024. IAASB Chair Tom Seidenstein emphasised the importance of extensive consultation: “This is essential to ensure a final standard that is robust and drives high-quality assurance engagements, while meeting the needs of users and being profession-agnostic.” The IAASB recently discussed this revised timetable with its oversight body, the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB), which supports IAASB’s early and extensive consultation plan.

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