Date posted: 22/02/2023

Submission outlines support of Australia’s progress on sustainability reporting

CA ANZ and CPA Australia have jointly responded to Treasury’s consultation on climate related financial disclosure

In brief

  • Climate is just the first of a number of critical sustainability issues which affect a company
  • Australia should align its climate-related disclosure framework with international developments
  • An appropriate licencing regime for assurance practitioners should be established

Positive milestone for Australia

In our joint submission to Treasury, we consider the consultation paper to be a positive milestone in Australia’s progress to align with international advancements in high-quality, consistent sustainability reporting more broadly. 

Climate is just the first of a number of critical sustainability issues which affect how a company maintains its resources and manages impacts and interdependencies across the business ecosystem over time.

Key Points

In our submission, we outline key points:

  • recommend that the Government clearly articulates upfront the pathway for adoption for all entities both initially and ultimately captured under the reporting framework to allow impacted entities sufficient time to prepare. 
  • are of the view that Australia should align its climate-related disclosure framework with international developments, in particular the ISSB’s global baseline. That baseline should be flexible enough to extend to reporting beyond just climate. 
  • recommend that an appropriate licencing regime for assurance practitioners be established Assurance over climate-related disclosures is critical to ensure users can rely on the reported information for decision making. 
  • encourage the Government to establish an adequately resourced standalone Australian Sustainability Standards Board to oversee the development and publication of sustainability standards.

Joint peak bodies submission

We have also contributed to the joint peak bodies submission which presents the collective views of 11 professional, industry, investor and research bodies. The collective represents more than 400 companies, investor and financial institutions with A$18 trillion assets under management, over 6 million retail investors and 400,000 business and finance professionals. Organisations include:

  • Australasian Investor Relations Association
  • Australian Shareholders Association
  • Australian Sustainable Finance Institute
  • Centre for Policy Development
  • CFA Societies Australia
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
  • CPA Australia
  • Governance Institute of Australia
  • The Group of 100
  • Institute of Public Accountants
  • UN Global Compact Network Australia

The joint peak bodies submission considers a clear, transparent, comprehensive and comparable disclosure of sustainability related information to be part of the foundation of a well-functioning financial system and welcomes the introduction of mandatory climate-related disclosure requirements in Australia. 

Australian Public Policy Committee (APPC) 

We have also contributed to the APPC submission which outlines the role of assurance in ensuring investment grade information, both for financial as well as non-financial disclosures. 

The APPC comprises of the six largest professional services firms in Australia being BDO, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, KPMG and PwC as well as the professional accounting bodies being Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia. The objective of the group is to promote positive public policy outcomes in respect of audit, accounting and related regulated services. 

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