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IAASB Releases Proposed Standard on Sustainability Assurance Engagements

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 14, 2023


The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has released its proposed International Standard on Sustainability Assurance 5000, "General Requirements for Sustainability Assurance Engagements.” According to Accounting Today, the proposed standard complements the sustainability and climate disclosure standards released in June by the International Sustainability Standards Board, which were endorsed by the International Organization of Securities Commissions last month.

The IAASB states that proposed standard can be applied to information about all sustainability topics and aspects of topics; information prepared in accordance with any sustainability reporting framework, standard or other suitable criteria; all sustainability information regardless of the mechanism for reporting the information; and limited and reasonable assurance engagements.

The IAASB also mentions that the proposed standard "can ... be used by all assurance practitioners, as long as they comply with relevant ethical requirements and apply a system of quality management that are at least as rigorous as the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards), published by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, and the IAASB’s suite of quality management standards."

"ISSA 5000 in our minds will provide the most comprehensive end-to-end assurance standard for specific sustainability reporting throughout the world," said IAASB chair Tom Seidenstein, according to Accounting Today. "It's in response to increased global demand by regulators and policymakers who are increasingly requiring both sustainability reporting and assurance."

The standard goes beyond simply verifying that an organization has followed a set of procedures for sustainability reporting, includes both qualitative and quantitative information as well as forward-looking information, Accounting Today reported.

Seidenstein told Accounting Today that he anticipates the new sustainability assurance standard to be finalized by the end of 2024.

The comment period ends on Dec. 1. The IAASB is requesting feedback from those who prepare, use or provide assurance on sustainability information, and those who use reported sustainability information to make decisions, including audit committee members, investors, and others. Stakeholders can submit their comments electronically using a Response Template.

After that period ends, the IAASB will “begin analysis and redeliberation shortly thereafter, and we'll probably have a first review of the comment letters and the feedback received as a full board in March,” Seidenstein said. “Then we'll get on with the deliberations. It's possible to finish it in September, but we are committed to finishing sometime in the second half of 2024. This is in line with the timing that's expected in IOSCO's recommendations and also to meet European requirements."

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