On 9 December 2022 the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) held a roundtable with a number of jurisdictions representing the Global South, as it works with jurisdictions to ensure the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards can be adopted and applied effectively around the world. Representatives from Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe attended the roundtable, with written comments received from Thailand and Papua New Guinea.
The discussion reflected on the ISSB’s plans to proportionally build in reliefs for companies that need time to apply the standards effectively. The session also focused on ensuring an effective strategy is in place to build capacity within markets to enable the effective disclosure, and use, of sustainability-related information.
ISSB Vice-Chair Jingdong Hua, who chaired the meeting, said:
The ISSB is committed to issuing Standards that provide a common language for sustainability-related disclosure through the formation of a global baseline for capital markets. To ensure this is a truly global initiative the ISSB is working with jurisdictions around the world to ensure the Standards are responsive of needs, and are usable. Key to this is the need to provide application support and build capacity, particularly in the Global South.
We thank participants of this roundtable for their time and insights as we work together to create the conditions for the effective application of our Standards, and look forward to ongoing engagement as we advance our standard-setting and prepare for adoption by jurisdictions once the Standards are issued in 2023.
Mohamed Saleh, Chair, IOSCO Emerging Markets Committee and Chair, Financial Regulatory Authority Egypt, said:
We hear strong demand for a global baseline of sustainability-disclosure for capital markets, but to deliver it we need to help companies, especially in the global south, build capacity to support effective implementation. The work the ISSB is doing to provide application guidance and to apply proportionality will be vital to ensuring the baseline can be truly global, and include the Global South.
Representatives from Brazil included CBPS (Brazilian Committee for Sustainability Pronouncements) and B3 Stock Exchange.
Cesar Tarabay Sanches, Head of Sustainability, B3, said:
Brazilian companies regularly voice the need for harmonised sustainability-disclosure standards, and as such the work the ISSB is doing is so important. That said, with around 20 million active companies in Brazil, our biggest challenge is building capacity, sharing best practice, and growing knowledge. There is huge demand to understand how companies can prepare for the future risks sustainability issues will pose. We are committed to ongoing engagement, working with the ISSB, to provide this guidance and support.
In order to better cooperate with the ISSB, Brazil has already established CBPS (Brazilian Committee for Sustainability Pronouncements), a mirror institution to the one that prepares accounting standards to be endorsed by local regulators. The CBPS will be taking care of the necessary due process regarding sustainability standards.
Jingdong Hua was appointed as ISSB Vice-Chair to oversee the development and implementation of the ISSB’s strategies to support and include stakeholders in emerging and developing economies as well as smaller companies.
A key first step was the announcement of a Partnership Framework for capacity building launched at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh last month, with around 30 partner organisations committing to ensure accelerated readiness for jurisdictions to adopt IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.