2024 IFRS Sustainability Symposium Highlights

The 2024 IFRS Sustainability Symposium was held in New York City last week where over 1,000 professionals from around the globe convened in person and online to discuss global demands for more consistent, comparable, and reliable reporting on sustainability information and how the application of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Standards will serve in response to these demands.

Here are some key takeaways from the event:

  • The need for reporting on sustainability efforts is more relevant today than ever.

We are currently experiencing a societal force where a growing population of investors is demanding an acceleration of transparent reporting.  Sustainability is a business issue – investors want to see better information to make better informed decisions.  However, although sustainability information is valuable to the investment process, it remains a challenge to access.  According to investors, when companies voluntarily report on sustainability data, evaluations from rating agencies becomes less subjective in their analysis.  A consistent global language for sustainability reporting would reduce confusion over reporting and enable access to comparable data.

  • Financial statements alone do not reflect all the risks and opportunities of businesses.

Asset managers repeatedly emphasized that ESG factors are pre-financial indicators that affect a company’s risk-adjusted investment return. Financial statements focus on past performance, whereas investment valuations are forward-looking. Asset managers seek context by which to define an overall investment strategy and ESG indicators provide this context so any long-term risk can be adequately evaluated and mitigated.

  • The market is demanding a sustainability reporting framework that is comparable, consistent, and decision useful. 

The formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) of the IFRS Foundation in June, 2021 marked an important milestone in the journey towards more decision useful sustainability reporting. The ISSB has continued its mission built from the legacy of the CDSB, TCFD, and SASB framework to reduce the noise of the alphabet soup of sustainability reporting.  With the introduction of the S1 and S2 standards, it aims to provide a consistent global language for sustainability reporting, one that will enable better peer-to-peer comparison and allow for consistent reporting across industries.

Click here for additional resources and access to the IFRS Knowledge Hub:

https://www.ifrs.org/sustainability/knowledge-hub