An International Sustainability Standards Board centre in Montreal helps to get Canada’s standard setting ready for the future (Getty Images/Michael Verdoux/EyeEm)
Bonjour à tous!
I think it’s fair to say that the combination of standards and sustainability is creating quite the buzz both domestically and globally. The recent announcement of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) with a centre in Montreal is making waves internationally, while here at home, the Independent Review Committee on Standard Setting in Canada (IRCSS) has a consultation paper in the marketplace with its own sustainability recommendations.
The paper outlines the core details and decisions that need to be made to ensure Canadian standard setting is fit for the future while remaining focused on the public interest. The importance of this review – to the profession, markets and other stakeholders – is almost incalculable.
And let’s be clear, the world is changing. The global market is fluctuating even more rapidly than most expect due to the events we’ve experienced in the past few years. Obviously, the pandemic comes to mind as the most immediate force, but geopolitical strife, climate change and upheavals in society and the world of finance might prove to be even more long-lasting and impactful.
The review committee is exploring the overall governance and oversight framework of the Canadian standard-setting system – including its legal structure and funding mechanisms; consideration of public interest and responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples in the development of standards.
Key to the entire process is the fact that the IRCSS is seeking user feedback to the consultation paper. The review committee wants broad public comment and I’d like to encourage Canadian CPAs to join in the consultation to ensure the voices of our profession are heard. The consultation process closes in February, so take the time and provide input at IRCSSCanada.ca.
When it comes to ensuring the relevance and international recognition of the CPA profession, focusing on sustainability is of the utmost importance. As many of you know, in the summer of 2021, CPA Canada helped to facilitate a bid to host the ISSB in Canada, and in November, during the COP26 climate conference, the IFRS Foundation announced that the new board would have a global, multi-location presence with its key centres in Frankfurt and Montreal.
This is a huge win for Canada and signals the IFRS Foundation – and the global community writ large – trusts Canada to help the ISSB establish its global footprint. The choice of Montreal as a key centre cements Canada as an integral player in establishing a common and consistent sustainability reporting ecosystem. This could help in combating climate change and therefore intrinsically affects every person on Earth.
Consistency around environmental, social and governance disclosure is especially important as jurisdictions and organizations globally make net-zero emissions pledges. These international standards will provide better information to evaluate these pledges and the progress being made toward meeting them.
With that, I’m reminded of the feature in the November/December 2021 edition of Pivot on Mark Carney, UN special envoy on climate change and finance.
“We cannot get to net-zero without proper climate reporting. Full stop. It’s just too complex. It involves every company in every sector, every region of the world,” Carney said in our exclusive interview, and I wholeheartedly agree. The importance of consistent and accurate reporting on these issues cannot be overstated and that, my friends, is the main goal of the ISSB.
It is genuinely heartening to see the international community and Canada itself taking this issue seriously. The establishment of the ISSB represents a sea change in the standards-setting community and will better position us as leaders in the international community. I am extremely proud of these actions and encourage CPAs across Canada take a moment to recognize what we have accomplished, but also recognize there is still more to do.
L’avenir nous appartient!
Check out the full feature interview with Mark Carney, find out about the key accounting themes from COP26 and see which issues impacted the profession the most this past year.