Consultation now open: The ISSB seeks feedback on its priorities for the next two years


The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is seeking feedback on its priorities for its next two-year work plan. The Request for Information Consultation on Agenda Priorities is open for comments until 1 September 2023.

Based on research into the information needs of investors, the ISSB has identified four potential projects: three sustainability-related research projects—1) biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services; 2) human capital; 3) human rights—and a fourth project researching integration in reporting.

Stakeholders are asked to provide feedback, preferably by online survey, on:

  • the strategic direction and balance of the ISSB’s activities;

  • the criteria for assessing which sustainability-related matters to prioritise—including topics, industries and activities; and

  • the scope and structure of potential new research and standard-setting projects.

Before submitting the survey, stakeholders can view a PDF of the survey in its entirety.

The feedback provided will inform both the ISSB’s work plan and its approach to future projects.

Stakeholders are also asked whether relevant information on sustainability-related risks and opportunities differs by specific industries, sectors or geographic locations.

Furthermore, given the size of the potential projects which would limit the progress that could be made across all four projects in two years, the ISSB is seeking views on the relative priority of activities to determine potential trade-offs.

The ISSB has already committed to balancing advancing new projects in a timely manner with its focus[i] on ensuring the comprehensive global baseline of sustainability-related disclosures, delivered through its initial two Standards, is implemented effectively.

The ISSB is on track to issue IFRS S1, covering general requirements, and IFRS S2, covering climate, in June 2023[ii], providing a solution to the currently fragmented landscape of sustainability-related initiatives, so that investors receive sustainability-related disclosures that are consistent, comparable and reliable.

Why these four potential projects?

The Request for Information sets out why the ISSB has identified the four potential projects. The Request for Information cites factors such as importance to investors; deficiencies in the way companies currently disclose sustainability information; and the prevalence and pervasiveness of the matters. A few of the examples of the reasoning outlined in the Request for Information include:

  • research conducted by Network for Greening the Financial System about central banking and supervision in the biosphere, which identifies biodiversity loss as posing a significant threat to financial stability[iii]. Disclosure on biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services (BEES) would enhance transparency around corporate activities that affects BEES, which could be useful information for investors in assessing financial value creation.

  • that effective disclosure on human capital—including, for example, around worker wellbeing; diversity, equity and inclusion; and workforce investment and reskilling—could unleash potential and highlight risks in areas such as innovation, productivity gains and GHG emissions reduction.

  • that human rights matters can affect a company’s value and reputation, and its license to operate.

A potential project on integration in reporting[iv] would look at reporting on interdependencies, synergies and trade-offs between a company’s own resources and relationships. The project would also examine if and how the ways in which the value a company creates for itself is inextricably linked to the value it creates for other stakeholders, society and the natural environment; these links could create opportunities for progressing integrating reporting via the connection of sustainability-related disclosures with the financial statements.

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[i] The ISSB is working to support the implementation of IFRS S1 and IFRS S2; researching targeted enhancements to these Standards around the climate-adjacent risks and opportunities related to nature and the just transition to a lower-carbon economy; enhancing the SASB Standards; ensuring connectivity between the ISSB’s and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)’s respective requirements; ensuring interoperability of the ISSB Standards with other sustainability standards; and engaging with stakeholders.

[ii] IFRS S1 will set out the general requirements for a company to disclose information about its sustainability-related risks and opportunities to investors. IFRS S2 will require disclosure of material information about climate-related risks and opportunities to meet investor information needs. IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 build upon the SASB Standards, Integrated Reporting Framework and CDSB Framework, as well as fully incorporating the TCFD Recommendations.

[iii] NGFS-INSPIRE Study Group on Biodiversity and Financial Stability 'Central banking and supervision in the biosphere: An agenda for action on biodiversity loss, financial risk and system stability', 2022.

[iv] Stakeholders are asked whether this project should be pursued as a formal joint project with the IASB and whether the project should utilise the IASB’s Exposure Draft Management Commentary, the Integrated Reporting Framework, both, or other materials.

The ISSB’s Press Release can be accessed at https://www.ifrs.org/.

4 May 2023