The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) in collaboration with the Southern Regional Committee organized a seminar on sustainability reporting on Friday at ICAP Head Office, Karachi.
Mr. Usama Rashid, Chairman Southern Regional Committee welcomed the key note speakers, dignitaries and guests. He highlighted the role and importance of ICAP Regional committees in professional development of ICAP Members. In recent years, Sustainability reporting has gained global significance. It is the disclosure and communication of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals coupled with company’s progress towards them. Businesses have benefitted from sustainability reporting in form of improved corporate reputation, building consumer confidence, increased innovation, and even improvement of risk management, he further added.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Chairperson Pakistan Stock Exchange delivered the keynote address. She said that Pakistan climate vulnerability has brought sustainability to the forefront. The businesses have to develop, implement environmental standards and promote green financial reporting. It is important for public and private sector to embrace sustainability reporting as it is critical for survival in the global arena. Pakistan has legislated sustainable development goals and businesses, however, there is a need to develop a strategy for sustainable reporting system, and lot has to be done in this area.
We will have to draw guidance from the international bodies to implement ESG, develop road map and guidelines for industry. The formation of International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) will help to achieve consistency and comparability of sustainability reporting across industries and jurisdictions. The finance department should take lead for ESG implementation in organizations. State Bank has issued green banking guidelines and the Pakistan Stock Exchange will very soon join UN Sustainable Stock Exchange initiatives. SECP has also issued a roadmap for ESG.
The businesses in Pakistan are behind in terms of ESG goals and targets evaluation, she further added. The ESG frameworks need to be embedded within the culture of the organization. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar appreciated the efforts of the Accounting Standards Board of ICAP for holding the seminar on a very pertinent and important topic.
Mr. Farrukh Rehman, FCA, Chairman Accounting Standards Board noted that the Chartered Accountants play a crucial role in business areas and they are closely involved in reporting, transparency, ethics, legal compliance, communication with stakeholders, and resource consumption. He highlighted that both financial and sustainability information meets the todays investors, regulators and other stakeholders needs. In this seminar the proposed IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board have been discussed.
The proposed IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standard 1, sets out general sustainability related disclosure requirements and proposed IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standard 2 specifies climate-related disclosure requirements, he further added. ISSB issued standards are set to become globally recognized framework for corporate sustainability reporting. The ISSB has issued exposure drafts of two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards for stakeholders’ consultation and more standards are expected to be issued in future period. He thanked the participants, speakers, panelists including representatives of Pakistan Business Council and Unilever Pakistan, and the ISSB team for taking part in the seminar.
The keynote speakers made presentations on the ISSB issued draft sustainability reporting standards. They explained that the establishment of the ISSB is a critical milestone in the journey towards investor-relevant sustainability standards. The board has endorsement of leading economies and stakeholders and it will develop global baseline for sustainability reporting.
The presenters highlighted the key aspects of the ISSB proposals. In the Q&A session the team of IFRS Foundation and ISSB responded to participants’ questions. In the panel discussion the current ESG reporting landscape, practical application of ISSB proposals and role of accountants in the sustainability reporting was discussed. The well attended seminar provided a platform to leading industry experts and business professionals to discuss, debate and seek pragmatic solutions of on the ISSB issued draft on sustainability reporting standards.