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The IESBA is committed to being part of the rapidly progressing developments regarding sustainability reporting and assurance and providing timely responses to ethics and independence-related concerns. As part of its Sustainability Project, the IESBA is developing:

 The Sustainability Task Force consists of two separate workstreams focusing on the ethics and the independence aspects of the Task Force’s work.

The Task Force coordinates closely with other global standard-setters in the field of sustainability reporting and assurance, including IAASB and International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), as well as the IESBA Task Force on the Use of Experts.

The IESBA's Sustainability Reference Group acts as a "sounding board" to the Sustainability Task Force, providing insights, expertise, or advice relating to the development of global ethics and independence standards for sustainability reporting and assurance. 

Workstream 1 - Independence
Workstream 2 - Ethics
IESBA December 2023 Meeting Highlights

The IESBA considered an update on the liaison between its Sustainability Task Force and the IESBA Sustainability Reference Group, coordination activities with the IAASB, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), as well as other stakeholder engagement and outreach activities during Q4 2023.

After deliberation, the IESBA approved for exposure:  

• Proposed revisions to Parts 1 to 3 of the Code addressing sustainability reporting by professional accountants.

• A proposed new Part 5 of the Code, International Ethics Standards for Sustainability Assurance (including International Independence Standards) for all sustainability assurance practitioners, regardless of whether or not they are professional accountants, when performing sustainability assurance engagements that are within the specified scope of Part 5. The proposed new standards set out provisions that are at the same level as those for audits of financial statements. Among other matters, they address independence considerations relating to group sustainability assurance engagements, using the work of another practitioner, and assurance of sustainability information from value chain entities.

• New terms and definitions including “sustainability information,” “sustainability assurance engagement” and “value chain”.

• Proposed consequential and conforming amendments to the Code.  

The ED is expected to be issued by the end of January 2024 with a public comment period of 100 days.