Date posted: 17/09/2020

Important global direction for harmonisation of corporate reporting

CA ANZ supports joint statement from leading sustainability and integrated reporting organisations on shared vision for more comprehensive corporate reporting.

In brief

  • Businesses have a significant role to play in contributing towards the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals
  • Existing approaches in Australia and New Zealand are complex and fragmented
  • We welcome a joint statement on the shared vision for a comprehensive global solution for corporate reporting

Businesses have a significant role to play in contributing towards the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals and unlocking the capital available to fund them. Further, the Paris Climate Agreement and recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure have increased awareness on the connections between environmental risk and financial consequences.

The transparent measurement and disclosure of sustainability performance alongside financial performance is now a fundamental part of effective business management, and essential for preserving trust in business.

‘The current fragmented approach to corporate reporting frameworks has created confusion and this statement of intent is an important development towards harmonisation.‘

Existing approaches are complex and fragmented

However, as we have observed within Australia and New Zealand, the existing complexity and fragmented approach to wider corporate reporting has created confusion in the marketplace and a barrier to wider adoption.

Therefore, at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, we welcome the joint statement last week from leading sustainability and integrated reporting organisations. The joint statement has been co-published by CDP, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and presents a shared vision of the elements necessary for more comprehensive corporate reporting and a joint statement of intent to drive towards this goal.

In particular we consider it critical for there to be a global solution for corporate reporting and so applaud the commitment from these reporting organisations to engage with IOSCO and the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council. 

Likewise, we support the recent roadmap published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) that calls for a new Sustainability Standards Board alongside the IASB. As IFAC note, in Enhancing Corporate Reporting: The Way Forward  the time for a global solution is now to answer the calls from investors, policy makers and other stakeholders. As we have observed in Australia and New Zealand, stakeholders are calling for a reporting system that delivers consistent, comparable, reliable and assurable information that is relevant to enterprise value creation, sustainable development and evolving expectations.

The role of Professional Accountants

Professional Accountants play critical roles in reporting and assuring decision useful information.  Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand will continue to engage with the various bodies as these initiatives progress, as they will likely shape the direction of wider corporate reporting that will be adopted in Australia and New Zealand.

Integrated Reporting

Find out more about a holistic approach to corporate reporting.

Read more