The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) has embarked on a project to develop sustainability reporting standards for the public sector.
With the increasing global focus on climate change and the urgent need for effective climate action, the IPSASB sees a need to enable consistent and comparable reporting on climate-related information in the public sector.
To ensure global comparability and minimise the proliferation of standards, the IPSASB will base its development on the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (ISSB) framework, specifically drawing from their standard IFRS S2 on climate-related disclosures. The IPSASB Will also draw technical matters and guidance from frameworks such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), aiming to maximise efficiency and take advantage of existing expertise.
With diverse legislative frameworks and organisational structures in place within public sectors worldwide, one key question the project will address is governance issues. It will assess whether additional guidance on public sector governance is necessary, taking into account varying levels and responsibilities of government. The project will also explore the specific disclosures needed for public sector entities involved in policy-making and regulation, ensuring accountability and transparency in their climate-related strategies.
While the IPSASB’s project holds great promise for advancing public sector sustainability reporting, one key question remains unanswered: Will the IPSASB follow the ISSB’s lead in making the standard digital and including a taxonomy? Hint — reusing the upcoming ISSB taxonomy would be a great start! With no mention of digitisation so far, it’s worth highlighting that in today’s data-driven world, digital transformation and the adoption of a standardised data format, such as XBRL are crucial for enhanced accessibility and usability of sustainability data.