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[Ed. note: In observance of Juneteenth, our offices are closed today.]

EY published a report on how to best leverage your internal audit department in preparing for the upcoming breadth of sustainability/ESG reporting:

“Chief audit executives should consider enhancing their teams’ capabilities related to sustainability to effectively manage these emerging sustainability reporting risks. Whether through professional development or bringing in new team members with specialized knowledge, these projects can further equip audit teams to handle the complexities of ESG auditing. This approach will position companies at the forefront of sustainability reporting practices and drive compliance in 2024 and beyond…

With the need to comply with regulations such as the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), California’s Climate Disclosure Laws, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Climate Rules, it is critical for risk officers and chief audit executives to stay engaged with their organizations to assess readiness. 2024 and 2025 internal audit plans are increasingly considering these evolving regulatory and sustainability reporting risks to address readiness.”

The report gives an over of the activities typically performed in, and expected results of, an assessment of:

  • GHG emissions reporting
  • ESG program maturity
  • CSRD/ESRS readiness
  • California Climate Disclosure readiness
  • SEC Climate Rule readiness

Of course, there is meaningful uncertainty about the timing or status of some of these requirements, but as the report points out:

“organizations’ risk and internal audit functions should consider what actions they can take now to set their organization up for success… A readiness assessment can help to identify the efforts necessary for efficient compliance. Additionally, an ESG program maturity assessment or GHG emissions reporting assessment can enhance any organization’s resilience and compliance in sustainability reporting, whether voluntary or regulatory.”

Sustainability leaders may benefit greatly from internal audit’s experience with and knowledge of control environments and governance to strengthen the technical data/management systems credibility.

Our members can learn more about leveraging internal audit here.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile