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The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) today issued its proposed International Standard on Sustainability Assurance (ISSA) 5000, General Requirements for Sustainability Assurance Engagements. With its focus on assurance on sustainability reporting, ISSA 5000, when approved, will be the most comprehensive sustainability assurance standard available to all assurance practitioners across the globe. 

“Our proposed ISSA 5000 is a crucial step in enhancing confidence and trust in sustainability reporting. This proposal directly responds to the International Organization of Securities Commissions recommendations and complements the work of other standard setters, including the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants,” noted IAASB Chair Tom Seidenstein. “Corporate reporting, whether financial or sustainability focused, is more trusted when it receives external and independent assurance based upon globally accepted standards independently developed in the public interest.”

ISSA 5000 is a principles-based, overarching standard suitable for both limited and reasonable assurance engagements on sustainability information reported across any sustainability topic. The IAASB drafted the standard to work with sustainability information prepared under any suitable reporting framework. These frameworks include the many reporting frameworks already in place and those under development, including but not limited to those issued by the European Union, the International Sustainability Standards Board, the Global Reporting Initiative, the International Organization for Standardization, and others. The standard is profession agnostic, supporting its use by both professional accountant and non-accountant assurance practitioners when performing high quality sustainability assurance engagements.

The IAASB is committed to an extensive, high-level outreach plan to ensure broad stakeholder input. One core element of the outreach is a series of four roundtables beginning in September. The IAASB will also take part in virtual, regional, and national events, many held in partnership with other organizations, throughout the consultation period.

“Receiving the broadest range of views from our stakeholders will improve both the quality of and trust in the final standard. Our unprecedented commitment to outreach will allow us to engage directly with a much wider group of stakeholders to gather the valuable insights we need to finalize a high-quality robust standard,” noted IAASB Vice-Chair and Sustainability Task Force Chair Josephine Jackson.

ISSA 5000 will be available French, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish in the coming weeks. The IAASB invites all stakeholders to comment on the proposed revisions via the IAASB website by December 1, 2023.