India’s ICAI consults on ESG assurance standard
The Sustainability Reporting Standards Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has issued an exposure draft of its Standard on Sustainability Assurance Engagements (SSAE) 3000 for public comment. As it observes, companies are increasingly collecting and reporting information on their sustainability performance, driven both by regulatory change and by a voluntary shift toward informing investors and other stakeholders. Companies are therefore making a wide range of sustainability disclosures. The Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR), for example, which must be filed in XBRL, is now mandatory for India’s top 1,000 listed entities.
SSAE 3000 provides an umbrella standard applicable to all assurance engagements on sustainability information, drawing on the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3000) from the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). Among its requirements, it covers conduct of an assurance engagement, including acceptance and terms; quality control; planning and performing the engagement; execution; and completion and reporting. ICAI proposes to make the standard effective on a voluntary basis for periods ending on 31 March 2023, becoming mandatory one year later.
By seizing the initiative in this arena, ICAI has taken an important step in helping to ensure both the quality of reported sustainability data in India and trust in that quality. With new sustainability reporting requirements coming into force around the globe, assurance is a hot topic, as well as an increasingly urgent one. Comments on the SSAE 3000 are due by 3 October 2022, so if you are interested in responding do not delay.
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