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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 June 2023 Meeting Highlights

The IESBA considered a presentation from Mr. Daniel Metzger, Associate Director, Head of Mid-East & Asia, and other representatives of AccountAbility on AccountAbility’s role in the sustainability field, its stakeholders, the global standards it sets, and how those standards might interoperate with the sustainability-related ethics and independence standards the IESBA is developing.

The IESBA then considered feedback from the global sustainability roundtables held in late March/early April 2023, and an update on the formation of its Sustainability Reference Group.

The IESBA considered and supported the Task Force’s proposed approach for the presentation of the profession-agnostic ethics and independence standards for sustainability assurance to be included in a new Part 5 of the Code. The IESBA also deliberated a number of other issues and provided feedback to the Task Force under Work Stream 1 (Independence) and Work Stream 2 (Ethics), including on the proposed scope of the ethics and independence standards for sustainability assurance; independence standards for group sustainability assurance engagements; the determination of entities that are PIEs under the new Part 5 addressing sustainability assurance engagements; partner rotation requirements and fee-related provisions in the context of independence; the scope of the provisions in the new Part 5 addressing responding to non-compliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR); and a number of key terms and definitions.  

The IESBA also supported the Task Force’s proposal to limit the scope of the ethics provisions for sustainability reporting to professional accountants only at this time, and to explore developing profession-agnostic ethics standards for sustainability reporting as part of another initiative in the future.  

The IESBA will consider a first-read draft of the proposed ethics and independence provisions for sustainability reporting and assurance at its September 2023 meeting.