Caixin
Sep 29, 2021 10:16 PM
FINANCE

Beijing Seeks to Host Global Board for Sustainability in Corporate Reporting

China is vying to become the host city of a proposed entity for setting global benchmarks for sustainability-related corporate reporting that will be governed by the nonprofit International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation. Photo: IFRS
China is vying to become the host city of a proposed entity for setting global benchmarks for sustainability-related corporate reporting that will be governed by the nonprofit International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation. Photo: IFRS

Beijing is vying with London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Geneva to become the host city of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), a proposed entity for setting global benchmarks for sustainability-related corporate reporting.

Being the world’s biggest carbon emitter is an advantage for China’s application, with its efforts to reduce emissions key to global sustainable development, said Ma Jun, director of the green finance committee of central bank-backed think tank the China Society for Finance and Banking. Ma mentioned Beijing’s bid at an annual meeting of the body Saturday.

Jiao Xiaoping, director of the China Public Private Partnerships Center under the Ministry of Finance, echoed Ma’s sentiments, adding China’s most fundamental task in achieving lower carbon emissions is to establish a monitoring, reporting and verification system.

The proposed ISSB will be governed by the London-based nonprofit International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation, which sets one of the two major global accounting standards for financial reporting that is used by companies in more than 120 countries, including in Asia and the EU.

The other set, known as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, is mainly employed by companies in the U.S.

The IFRS Foundation proposed the creation of a sustainability standards board in 2020, when it sought to identify the market demand for reporting on sustainability.

The sustainability reporting standards set by the ISSB will require companies to provide high-quality, transparent and comparable information for global investors to make decisions. The ISSB could help “unify fragmented sustainability standards” and “facilitate widespread and consistent sustainability disclosures across sectors,” said Fitch Ratings Inc., a financial information service provider.

Ma said the ISSB standards will start by requiring the reporting of climate-related information, and gradually expand to encompassing other sustainability-related information including biodiversity.

The IFRS Foundation is expected to decide the location of the headquarters ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that is set to start in late October.

Contact reporter Zhang Yukun (yukunzhang@caixin.com) and editor Lin Jinbing (jinbinglin@caixin.com)

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