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.

The IESBA’s Sustainability Working Group’s objectives are to:

  • Promote awareness of the extant IESBA Code of Ethics in sustainability reporting and assurance.
  • Undertaking fact finding to understand how the IESBA Code of Ethics (including the International Independence Standards) is being used by professional accountants and other professionals in sustainability reporting and assurance. Such fact finding will involve an exploration of whether and, if so, how the Code’s could be expanded to professionals other than professional accountants who are involved in sustainability reporting and assurance.
  • Developing a strategic vision to guide the IESBA’s standard-setting actions in relation to sustainability reporting and assurance. In this regard, the IESBA anticipates approving a project plan for its sustainability work streams in December 2022. 

The Working Group coordinates closely with other global standard-setters in the field of sustainability reporting and assurance, including IAASB and International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

 Working Group
 Correspondent Member

Project Stages

Board Papers

March 2022 June 2022 September 2022

Board Minutes

March 2022 June 2022 September 2022 (Available December 2022)

CAG Papers

March 2022

CAG Minutes

March 2022 (Available September 2022)

IESBA June 2022 Meeting Highlights

After having considered an update on the global and jurisdictional developments on sustainability reporting and assurance, the IESBA unanimously resolved to take timely action to develop fit-for-purpose, globally applicable ethics and independence standards as a critical part of the infrastructure needed to support transparent, relevant and trustworthy sustainability reporting. In this regard, the IESBA approved the Terms of Reference for its recently established Sustainability Working Group.

As part of its charge, the Sustainability Working Group will:

  • Develop a strategic vision to guide the IESBA’s standard-setting actions in relation to sustainability reporting and assurance. This will include a standard-setting project plan for the IESBA’s consideration with a view to approval by December 2022. 
  • Undertake awareness-raising activities to highlight the role of the IESBA and the applicability of the provisions in the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code) to sustainability reporting and assurance.
  • Conduct fact finding, including extensive stakeholder outreach to inform the IESBA’s standard-setting activities and other workstreams.

The IESBA plans to coordinate this work closely with others, in particular the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).  

The IESBA also received an update on the targeted stakeholder outreach that Working Group members and other IESBA representatives undertook since the March 2022 meeting. In particular, the IESBA noted key takeaways from a May 2022 webinar titled, Instilling Public Trust and Confidence In Sustainability Reporting And Assurance. In addition, IESBA members provided input on the Working Group’s proposed sustainability stakeholder questionnaire and on the topics and issues to be addressed in a forthcoming Staff publication on the topic of greenwashing. 

The IESBA will consider options for the way forward from the Working Group at its September 2022 meeting.


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