IPSASB consults on public sector sustainability reporting

Posted on May 20, 2022 by Editor

“While there has recently been significant progress towards the development of a global baseline for sustainability reporting in the private sector, public sector sustainability reporting has yet to move forward in the same way,” says the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB). How and where governments direct their spending will, it argues, be critical in delivering the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and in making meaningful progress on climate change. Global public sector sustainability reporting guidance will, therefore, be required “to bring the necessary transparency and comparability to government activities in this important area.”

In response to demand from stakeholders, including the World Bank, the IPSASB has therefore launched a consultation on developing a sustainability reporting framework for the public sector. It suggests that it should take the lead in this initiative, serving as the global standard setter in this sphere. It emphasises the need for a collaborative approach, and proposes drawing on the work of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to develop and release initial reporting guidance, tailored to the public sector, by the end of 2023. “The aim of the public consultation process is to evaluate the demand from stakeholders for global public sector specific sustainability reporting guidance, as well as the degree of support for IPSASB developing such guidance, the priority areas for coverage, and how this might be approached.”

Disclosure format does not appear to be addressed on our initial reading of the consultation paper, but we at XBRL International would argue that this is a golden opportunity to employ digital-first thinking. By planning for digital disclosure – as indeed the ISSB is doing – and designing standards with digital reporting in mind, standard setters can ensure that sustainability data is decision-useful, of high quality, and amenable to today’s analysis.

Consultation responses are due by 9 September 2022.

Read more here.

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