The newly adopted ISSB sustainability standards are an important step forward for ESG disclosures. The requirements are built on existing standards and seek to unify the field of sustainability reporting. The extent to which these new sustainability standards may help promote standardization in ESG reporting was addressed in a recent Wachtell Lipton memo. Here’s an excerpt:
“The new IFRS standards will become mandatory in jurisdictions that adopt the standards. Already, the United Kingdom has committed to adoption while several other jurisdictions including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea are considering adoption.
The new standards may also be used voluntarily and are backed by key market participants, including the G7, G20, the World Economic Forum, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Asian Development Bank. The International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO), whose members include securities regulators across more than 170 jurisdictions, is reviewing the new standards for potential endorsement, which would pave the way for further global adoption.”
The memo says that as more jurisdictions move implement sustainability disclosure regimes, the new standards may provide a solution to overlapping reporting requirements. In particular, the memo notes that the EU, whose Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is set to impact over 3,000 U.S. companies, has indicated that its support of further convergence with ISSB standards and will permit the use of equivalent disclosure standards to avoid duplicative reporting.