External assurance plays a key role in enhancing trust and confidence in financial and non-financial reporting.
With the goal of enhancing the trust and confidence investors, regulators and other stakeholders have in sustainability information, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has developed a landmark, global sustainability assurance standard
The proposed International Standard on Sustainability Assurance (ISSA) 5000, General Requirements for Sustainability Assurance Engagements, will serve as a comprehensive, stand-alone standard suitable for any sustainability assurance engagements. It will apply to sustainability information reported across any sustainability topic and prepared under multiple frameworks, including the recently released IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards S1 and S2. The proposed standard is profession agnostic, supporting its use by both professional accountant and non-accountant assurance practitioners.
Stakeholders have until December 1 to provide feedback and insights. The final standard will be issued before the end of 2024.
Global Outreach Campaign
The Proposed Standard
Proposed ISSA 5000 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
- Limited and reasonable assurance engagements
It can also 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.
Proposed ISSA 5000 is also a principles-based standard, focused on principles or outcomes rather than procedures or steps. This allows the assurance practitioner to apply their professional judgment in planning and performing the assurance engagement. This approach supports the scalability and comprehensiveness of the standard by limiting possible exceptions from the principles that apply and demonstrating how a requirement applies to all entities regardless of, for example, the type of entity, industry, or sector, and whether their nature and circumstances are less complex or more complex.
Exposure Draft & Exploratory Memorandum
Sept. 6 webinar
Sept. 7 webinar
In addition to our two Frequently Asked Questions documents, additional resources will become available in the coming weeks, including:
- Two global webinars were held in September and can be streamed on YouTube (first webinar video and slides; second webinar video and slides).
- Roundtables will be held in four cities around the world in September and October, and livestreamed where possible.
- Translations of the exposure draft in French, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish (Spanish-Spain and Spanish-Latin America) will be available in the coming weeks, translated by CPA Canada, Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ordem dos Revisores Oficiais de Contas, Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España and Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Públicos for Spanish, respectively.
How to Share Feedback
The IAASB encourages all stakeholders to submit their comments electronically using the below Response Template to share their feedback. Respondents do not need to answer all the questions in the Explanatory Memorandum and can instead choose to answer only those questions relevant to them or those questions for which they have specific comments.
The IAASB recognizes that certain stakeholders, such as sustainability reporting users and preparers, may wish to share views or provide input at a more overall or less technical level than what the questions in the Explanatory Memorandum and Response Template may require or imply. To accommodate this, the IAASB has developed a stakeholder survey: bit.ly/ISSA5000survey. This user-friendly tool helps the IAASB obtain the views of stakeholders who may not ordinarily respond to IAASB consultations, including preparers of sustainability information, those with the oversight of its preparation, investors and other users of the sustainability information, sustainability reporting standard setters and members of the academic community. Survey responses will be aggregated and analyzed in conjunction with other feedback received.
Webinars and Partner Events
In addition to the IAASB's webinars on September 6 and 7, the IAASB has also partnered with several organizations for additional webinars and events.
- Corporate Disclosures webinar with IAASB Chair Tom Seidenstein and IAASB Program and Technical Director Willie Botha: Introducing a new global standard for sustainability assurance
- IFAC Sustainability Summit–Asia Pacific: A collaborative endeavor with the ASEAN Federation of Accountants, Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants, South Asian Federation of Accountants, and Jeju Group.
- IFAC & Accountancy Europe In-Person Event: Preparing for High-Quality Sustainability Assurance Engagements
- Date, Time & Location: October 3 at 2 pm CEST in Brussels
- Register Here
What You Need to Know (short video)
Existing Assurance Standards & Guidance