Building on strong stakeholder support, the international public sector standard setter takes the next step in advancing public sector sustainability reporting pending securing the resources needed to begin guidance development
The threats to the world and its citizens from climate change are well publicized. Yet, despite significant government influence over the global economy, there is no internationally recognized public sector reporting framework to guide how they measure and report their critical contributions to addressing the global climate emergency. Reporting on climate change is one of the most important issues in sustainability reporting, which also encompasses environmental, social and governance issues.
At its December meeting, in light of the urgency of this issue, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) decided to commence the scoping of three potential public sector specific sustainability reporting projects pending securing the resources needed to begin guidance development. This decision builds on IPSASB’s 25 years of public sector standard setting experience as well as the strong global stakeholder support for the proposals in its Consultation Paper, Advancing Public Sector Sustainability Reporting.
“Public sector-specific sustainability reporting guidance would encourage transparency, allowing governments to be held accountable for the long-term impacts of their interventions, and enabling better-informed decision-making,” said Ian Carruthers, IPSASB Chair. “The feedback we’ve received from stakeholders around the world is clear: the public sector needs its own specific sustainability reporting framework and the IPSASB should lead its development. But in addition to our existing expertise, it is a fact that we will need additional support, both financial and otherwise, from the global community before we can take on the development of global guidance that would equip the public sector with the tools necessary to report on climate change and other sustainability issues.”
The IPSASB’s immediate action will be to establish a Sustainability Task Force to lead this first critical phase of research and scoping. The Board’s prioritized research topics are:
- General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information,
- Climate-Related Disclosures, and
- Natural Resources – Non-Financial Disclosures (in parallel with the development of financial reporting guidance proposed in its Consultation Paper, Natural Resources).
Resources are needed to support the IPSASB’s program of activity and stakeholder engagement, and to begin guidance development. To contribute financial or other support to the IPSASB for the development of global public sector specific sustainability reporting guidance, please email Ross Smith, IPSASB Program and Technical Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) or James Gunn, Managing Director, Professional Standards (email@example.com).
About the IPSASB
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) works to strengthen public financial management globally through developing and maintaining accrual-based International Public Sector Accounting Standards® (IPSAS®) and other high-quality financial reporting guidance for use by governments and other public sector entities. It also raises awareness of IPSAS and the benefits of accrual adoption. The Board receives support from the Asian Development Bank, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, the New Zealand External Reporting Board, and the governments of Canada and New Zealand. The structures and processes that support the operations of the IPSASB are facilitated by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). For copyright, trademark, and permissions information, please go to permissions or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Public Interest Committee
The governance and standard-setting activities of the IPSASB are overseen by the Public Interest Committee (PIC), to ensure that they follow due process and reflect the public interest. The PIC is comprised of individuals with expertise in public sector or financial reporting, and professional engagement in organizations that have an interest in promoting high-quality and internationally comparable financial information.