ACCA commends Canadian approach to sustainability standards

Leading global accountancy body urges adoption to be made as easy as possible for Canadian businesses

TORONTO, June 24, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) says Canada should adopt International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) standards in a timely manner to ensure a global baseline for sustainability standards can be achieved.

ACCA welcomed the proposal by the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB) to introduce a two-year transition relief period for disclosures beyond climate-related risks and opportunities. ACCA said the break makes sense given that systems will need to be established within organizations to ensure quality and timeliness in collecting data.

While recognizing that mandating standards is beyond the remit of the CSSB, ACCA also applauded the CSSB’s approach in ensuring the proposed standards are almost an exact match of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.

ACCA always calls on regulators and standard setters to ensure that companies are able to adopt these new sustainability reporting standards in an efficient and cost-effective manner, recognizing the challenges for businesses subject to multiple jurisdictional regulations and the need for a global baseline.

In that light, ACCA has suggested that at first the new sustainability disclosures, while being part of an entity’s general purpose financial reporting, should not have to be in a company’s financial statements.

Julie Missimore, Head of Public Affairs – Americas, ACCA, said: ‘ACCA believes that for information to be useful, timely and comparable, sustainability related reporting and financial reporting should be at the same time. However, as the required disclosures are located within the financial statements/annual reports, they will be subject to the same strict regulatory timeframe, which can be challenging particularly in the early years of implementation.’

In its submission to the CSSB on the adoption of sustainability related information (See editor’s note), ACCA said that no transition relief is required for climate resilience disclosure.

Jessica Bingham, Regional Lead, Policy & Insights, ACCA said: ‘Climate resilience testing and scenario analysis is an important tool to ensure meaningful reporting on relevant risks and opportunities. The options for both qualitative and quantitative analysis ensures improved reporting year on year as expectations change and provides time to pick appropriate data and scenarios. This tool improves global interoperability assisting in improving the availability of transition financing leading to the intended action as an outcome of the reporting.

Further guidance such as sector specific examples and scenarios would be useful to those carrying out climate resilience assessments, particularly for financial services. However, ACCA added that care is needed to ensure that such guidance does not introduce additional disclosure requirements that might inadvertently conflict with, or obscure information required by the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.

Read the submission here

Editor’s Note
The Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB) is consulting on the adoptions of Canadian Sustainability Disclosure Standards (CSDS), 1 and 2, which are based on the independent standard setter the International Sustainability Standards Board’s IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information and IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures.

About ACCA

We are ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), a globally recognized accountancy body providing qualifications and advancing standards in accountancy worldwide.

Founded in 1904 to widen access to the accountancy profession, we’ve long championed inclusion and today proudly support a diverse community of over 252,500 members and 526,000 future members in 180 countries.

Our forward-looking qualifications, continuous learning and insights are respected and valued by employers in every sector. They equip individuals with the business and finance expertise and ethical judgement to create, protect, and report the sustainable value delivered by organizations and economies.

Guided by our purpose and values, our vision is to develop the accountancy profession the world needs. Partnering with policymakers, standard setters, the donor community, educators and other accountancy bodies, we’re strengthening and building a profession that drives a sustainable future for all.

Find out more at:

  Matt Sollars
  Anat Gerstein, Inc.
  (on behalf of ACCA North America)