This feedback analysis paper follows up on the Cogito* project Interconnected standard setting for corporate reporting (December 2019). This Cogito built the case for global interconnected standards to address non-financial information (NFI) topics such as climate change, environmental degradation, human rights and social concerns.
The Cogito paper was well-received, featured in various media and led to debate at events and meetings. 41 leading European and global organisations responded to the call for feedback. This follow-up paper:
- analyses the feedback received in writing and through events
- provides an update on the latest EU and global developments
- reflects on a way forward on the NFI standard setting agenda
The following key takeaways are drawn from the 41 comment letters received:
- The ultimate objective should be a system solution to deliver global NFI reporting standards connected to financial information. Decisive moves towards this objective are needed, especially given the urgent action required to address existential challenges – including climate change.
- The ‘system solution’ could be achieved in steps such as bilateral moves to closer align or converge NFI reporting standards, policy developments, and expand the mandates for multilateral organisations.
- A ‘building blocks’ approach could address global challenges and varying policy needs. A core set of global metrics for NFI reporting would ensure comparability, address global challenges and direct capital to sustainable enterprises. Further blocks could be added to reflect jurisdictional priorities or address sector-specific topics.
- Quickest progress could be made by building on the best of NFI frameworks and standards.
- The European Union has a leading role to play and should collaborate with different organisations to help catalyse a global solution.
A significant achievement of this project is the exclusive statement (p. 14) from CDP, Climate Disclosure Standards Board, Global Reporting Initiative and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, which confirms their commitment to working together towards a globally harmonised system. This answers stakeholders’ calls for NFI initiatives to move more decisively towards convergence.
* Accountancy Europe’s Cogito series (i.e. I think) provides new ideas for the European accountancy profession, enhance innovation and contribute more to business and society. Cogito publications aim to stimulate debate; the views expressed thus do not reflect the official positions of Accountancy Europe or those of any of its 51 member bodies.