The IFRS Foundation and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) announced that they are broadening their collaboration to optimize the integration of their sustainability reporting standards.

This announcement builds on a 2022 agreement aimed at ensuring the compatibility and connectivity of sustainability-related disclosures, reducing the reporting burden on companies adhering to multiple standards, and promoting the harmonization of global sustainability reporting systems. Erkki Liikanen, Chair of the IFRS Foundation Trustees, stated:

“In March 2022, the IFRS Foundation Trustees signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GRI, highlighting the importance of aligning our standards to benefit report preparers and users globally. Today’s agreement advances this collaboration, helping to minimize duplication, fragmentation, and complexity in sustainability disclosure.”

Launched in November 2021 at the COP26 climate conference, the IFRS Foundation’s International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) aims to create IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, providing investors with insights into companies’ sustainability risks and opportunities. In June 2023, the IFRS released the first general sustainability (IFRS S1) and climate (IFRS S2) reporting standards. In July, IOSCO, the leading international policy forum and standards setter for securities regulators, urged regulators to incorporate these standards into their sustainability reporting frameworks.

Recently, the ISSB announced new projects to explore corporate disclosures on sustainability-related risks and opportunities, focusing on areas like biodiversity, ecosystems, ecosystem services, and human capital, to guide future sustainability reporting standards.

The GRI Standards are widely accepted for sustainability reporting by companies worldwide, facilitating consistent reporting across various sectors and providing clear sustainability communication to a wide array of stakeholders, including investors. In 2021, GRI updated its standards and recently introduced a new biodiversity reporting standard to enable companies to disclose significant biodiversity impacts and their management. The GRI Standards are developed by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB).

According to the IFRS Foundation and GRI, the expanded collaboration aims to create a seamless, global sustainability reporting system for companies to meet the needs of both investors and a broader range of stakeholders.

Under the new agreement, the ISSB and GSSB will work together to identify and align common disclosures, starting with a pilot methodology based on GRI’s new biodiversity standard and ISSB’s project on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services.

Carol Adams, Chair of the GSSB, said:

“This agreement highlights our dedication to improving disclosures on significant impacts and sustainability-related risks and opportunities. Starting with biodiversity, this collaboration paves the way towards a fully aligned global standards system. We believe this will be welcomed by reporters and stakeholders, including investors.”

The organizations clarified that they will continue making independent decisions, focusing on their respective objectives: the ISSB on meeting capital market information needs, and the GSSB on addressing a broader range of stakeholder requirements.

ISSB Chair Emmanuel Faber commented:

“Our focus remains on addressing the information needs of capital markets. Through this collaboration, companies applying both ISSB and GRI Standards can do so seamlessly, facilitating broader stakeholder reporting. My thanks to GRI and the GSSB for their ongoing partnership.”

Eelco van der Enden, CEO of GRI, added:

“From the start, our collaboration with the IFRS Foundation has aimed to ensure that GRI and ISSB standards can be used together seamlessly, making sustainability reporting more streamlined and robust. Today’s announcement is a significant step towards achieving that goal.”