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:
- Sustainability-related revisions to the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code) to address the ethics issues professional accountants might face while providing sustainability-related professional services (including sustainability reporting and assurance); and
- Ethics and independence standards for use and implementation by all sustainability assurance practitioners (i.e., professional accountants and other professionals performing sustainability assurance engagements).
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.
PROJECT FOCUS PAGE
Workstream 1 - Independence
Workstream 2 - Ethics
IESBA November-December 2022 Meeting Highlights
The IESBA considered presentations from:
- Mr. Granville Martin, Director of Regulatory Outreach, IFRS, who provided an update on the work being undertaken by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) towards developing sustainability reporting standards;
- Ms. Lyn Provost, Chair of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s (IAASB) Sustainability Assurance Task Force, who provided an update on the work being undertaken by the IAASB towards developing sustainability assurance standards; and
- Mr. David Madon, Director of Sustainability, Policy & Regulatory Affairs at IFAC, who briefed the IESBA on the findings of a limited research study conducted by IFAC on independence disclosures by consulting firms which performed sustainability assurance engagements in 2021 using ISAE 3000 (Revised).
The IESBA then approved two new projects that will deliver the following:
(a) Sustainability project:
- Profession-agnostic independence standards for use by all sustainability assurance practitioners; and
- Specific ethics provisions relevant to sustainability reporting and assurance.
(b) Experts project:
- Specific ethics and independence provisions addressing the use of experts by organizations as well as in the context of audit and assurance engagements (including sustainability assurance).
The IESBA agreed on the importance of obtaining input from a broad range of stakeholders, including sustainability assurance providers who are not professional accountants. In this regard, the IESBA agreed to conduct a series of four global roundtables to inform the development of the exposure drafts. The roundtables are planned for March and April 2023 and will cover Europe, Middle East and Africa; Asia; Oceania; and the Americas. Further details will be announced in January 2023.
In the meantime, the IESBA will also continue to coordinate its work closely with the IAASB, the ISSB, and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) with a view to achieving interoperable global standards for sustainability reporting and assurance.
The IESBA will discuss initial issues in the Sustainability and Experts projects at its March 2023 meeting.
 International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised), Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information