Global Sustainability Standards: Convergence and the Future - Agenda
15 March 2022 - Day One09:00 - 09:10Opening remarks from ICGN09:10 - 09:2009:20 - 10:20Plenary 1: State of convergence on sustainability reporting standards
In 2021 several important developments took place in the global consolidation of sustainability reporting standards. These include the establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and its future consolidation of the Value Reporting Foundation (the merged SASB and IRRC). In the European Union, the EU continues with its sustainability agenda, and a statement of cooperation on international sustainability reporting convergence was agreed between the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Japan announced plan to establish the Sustainability Standards Board of Japan (SSBJ). What is the state of play regarding these initiatives? Are we making progress towards achieving global convergence, or will there be several competing schools of thought?
16:00 - 17:00Plenary 2: Defining a new era for materiality – single, double, dynamic
- George Iguchi, Chief Corporate Governance Officer, Nissay Asset Management
- Teresa Ko, Corporate Partner and China Chairman, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer & Co-Vice Chair, IFRS Foundation
- Mark Vaessen, KPMG Audit Partner & Board Member, SASB Standards Board
- Patrick de Cambourg, President, Autorité des Normes Comptables (ANC) & Chair, EFRAG Project Task Force
- Chaired by Martijn Bos, Policy Advisor Reporting & Audit, Eumedion
The concept of materiality has long served as the foundation for financial reporting and the transparency required to support efficient capital markets. But concepts of materiality vary across markets, leading to confusion and intense debate among corporates, investors, and standard-setters. With the advent of stakeholder capitalism, new approaches to materiality are beginning to drive not just corporate reporting but corporate purpose, strategy, capital allocation, risk mitigation, board composition and committee mandates. Traditionally, the concept of materiality included ‘sustainability’ issues only insofar as they impact the company’s financial condition. Double materiality encourages companies to report on the way their operations are impacting stakeholder interests and sustainability priorities. And dynamic materiality recognises that environmental and social issues regarded in the past as superfluous can rise to the top of the agenda and become mission critical — if not existential. In this session, we will hear from some of the leading authorities driving these changes and setting the stage for the future of corporate sustainability.
- Bastian Buck, Chief of Standards, Global Reporting Initiative, GRI
- Jeffrey Hales, Chair, SASB Standards Board & Executive Director, Global Sustainability Leadership Institute
- Bhakti Mirchandani, Managing Director of Responsible Investing, Trinity Church Wall Street
- Michael Jantzi, Founder, Sustainalytics & Managing Director, ESG Strategy, Morningstar
- Chaired by: Robert G Eccles, Visiting Professor of Management Practice, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
16 March 2022 - Day Two09:00 - 09:10Welcome back09:10 - 09:2009:20 - 10:30Plenary 3: Financial accounting for sustainability and net-zero carbon transition
While global consolidation of sustainability reporting standards is evolving, many investors are calling on companies to demonstrate how sustainability-related factors can materially impact asset values, earnings, contingent liabilities, and statements of going concern. To help improve the quality of climate related corporate reporting and auditing, standard-setters and regulators have issued guidance. To what extent is this guidance being followed by companies and auditors? What are the challenges companies face in demonstrating net-zero accounting disclosures on critical assumptions, scenarios and judgements? How is this information currently being audited or assured?
16:00 - 17:00Plenary 4: Audit/assurance of sustainability reporting: what are the issues and will this be made easier with the establishment of the ISSB?
- Simone Ruiz-Vergote, Global Head of ESG & Climate Policy, MSCI
- Seiji Kawazoe, Senior Stewardship Officer, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management & Steering Committee Member, Climate Action 100+
- Salla Ahonen, Vice President, Sustainability, NESTE
- Nick Anderson, Board Member, International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
- David Barnes, Global Regulatory & Public Policy Leader, Deloitte & Member, Global Public Policy Committee (GPPC)
- Chaired by David Pitt-Watson, Leader, Climate Accounting Project & Fellow, Cambridge University, Judge Business School
Investors expect audited financial accounts as a given, and auditing of financial accounts is a long-standing professional practice, whereas sustainability reporting assurance is not so well-established. Where assurance exists at all it is more common to see watered down ‘reasonable assurance’ or ‘cold comfort’ opinions on sustainability disclosures. Investors should expect equal quality standards of assurance on sustainability reporting as they do for the auditing of financial statements, but how realistic is this and what is the timeframe for making this mainstream? Our panel will address these questions and will also consider what skillsets auditors/assurance providers require for rigorous sustainability reporting— and do the large audit firms have sufficient depth in this area? How does the concept of ‘dual materiality’ affect an assurance provider, as compared with single materiality?
- Katie Kummer, Global Deputy Vice Chair – Public Policy, EY
- Vanessa Allen, Vice President, ESG Research & Engagement, TD Asset Management, Canada
- David Madon, Director, Public Policy & Regulation, International Federation of Accountants, USA
- James Andrus, Interim Managing Investment Director, Board Governance & Sustainability. CalPERS
- Chaired by: George Dallas, Policy Director, ICGN