IESBA Proposes Sustainability Reporting Ethics Standards

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has proposed two new standards for ethical considerations across sustainability reporting and assurance in a bid to mitigate greenwashing. The standards also seek to improve the quality of sustainability information, aiming to build trust in reporting and assurance practices among the public and institutions. The first proposed standard, named ‘International Ethics Standards for Sustainability Assurance’, outlines expected behaviours and ethics provisions for all sustainability assurance practitioners and professional accountants involved in sustainability reporting. The second standard, entitled ‘Using the Work of an External Expert’, establishes an ethical framework guiding professional accountants and sustainability assurance practitioners for the evaluation of external expert’s competence, capabilities, and objectivity. The standards were developed on the basis of extensive industry outreach, including global roundtables in Paris, Singapore, Sydney and New York, involving over 140 representatives from diverse backgrounds – including non-professional accountants. IESBA Chair Gabriela Figueiredo Dias said he hoped the proposed standards would serve as a “cornerstone of ethical behaviour with far-reaching benefits”. The IESBA has invited all stakeholders to provide feedback on the exposure drafts by 10 May for the first standard, and by 30 April for the second.

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