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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.

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

The IESBA considered an update on the preparations for the global sustainability roundtables to be held in Paris, Sydney, Singapore and New York between late March and early April 2023. It also considered updates from:

  • Mr. David Madon, Director of Sustainability, Policy & Regulatory Affairs at IFAC, on the latest research undertaken by IFAC on the landscape for sustainability reporting and assurance; and
  • Mr. Willie Botha, Program and Technical Director of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), on the IAASB’s sustainability project.

The IESBA supported the establishment of a reference group of stakeholders outside the accounting profession to act as a sounding board to inform the development of profession-agnostic ethics and independence standards for sustainability assurance engagements.

The IESBA also provided feedback to the Task Force’s preliminary views, under Work Stream 1 (Independence) and Work Stream 2 (Ethics), on a number of key terms and definitions as well as scoping and independence matters relating to sustainability reporting and assurance. In addition, the IESBA further considered the potential approaches to the presentation of the profession-agnostic standards for sustainability assurance, as well as whether it should actively address the need to develop ethics standards for sustainability reporting in ways that would make them potentially accessible and applicable also to preparers outside the accounting profession.

The IESBA will consider the feedback from the global roundtables and preliminary drafts of the proposed ethics and independence provisions for sustainability reporting and assurance at its June 2023 meeting.