On 31st January 2022, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) was consolidated into the IFRS Foundation to support the work of the newly established International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). While this site and its resources remain relevant for preparers looking to improve sustainability disclosure until such time as the ISSB issues its IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards on such topics, no further work or guidance will be produced or published by CDSB. For further information please visit the IFRS website.

Looking back at CDSB

In this article Founding Director Lois Guthrie remembers some of CDSB's key moments

Over a decade ago, the Basis for Conclusions (B4C) supporting CDSB’s first draft Climate Reporting Framework recorded ‘a fundamental conclusion… that the Framework should draw on [and align with] relevant principles from financial reporting..in the interests of consistency with the objectives of financial reporting…as the foundation for the transition to an enhanced business reporting model in which climate change-related disclosure is fully integrated in mainstream financial reports.”

The B4C reflected the thinking of founding Technical Working Group (TWG) members who freely gave their wisdom, time and humour to develop an idea formulated at a World Economic Forum side event, chaired by Rick Samans in 2007. Alan Willis and Julie Desjardins of CICA read every densely packed word of CDSB’s original drafts, editing and contributing with rigour and rich experience. Alan McGill of PwC transported 100 copies of the original CDSB exposure drafts to COP 15 in Copenhagen in his own luggage, exercising both intellectual and upper body muscles! Roger Adams and Steve Priddy of ACCA steered us carefully between financial and sustainability aspects of reporting. Mike Barber and Becky Fell of Deloitte quoted authoritatively from IFRS standards.  Michael Izza and Richard Spencer of ICAEW were outstanding spokespeople and supporters of our venture. Matt Haigh challenged and inspired us. Jane Jagd kept us focussed on the practical needs of real-life companies and investors. Defra gave us our seed funding and Defa’s Sue Whitehead was a constant source of help. Tom Baumann, Yoichi Mori, Stathis Gould, Cristina Tebar-Less, Jarlath Molloy and Riva Krut remain eternally wise sounding boards to this day.

We had so much heartfelt, genuine, freely-given and dedicated support from this close-knit troupe of people who met in CDP’s charmingly scruffy offices where we felt the shiver of cold and the knowledge that we were embarking on something significant.  Their gifts of time and wisdom, invited by our quietly persuasive, super Chairman Rick Samans, are the foundation on which CDSB’s future was built. They were times when the seeds of inspiration and intuition were germinating through contact with the body of knowledge from our TWG and advisors. As a theology graduate, I hoped we were adding to the noosphere.

The intellectual and creative gifts of the TWG were not matched with organizational skills on my part as I was too carried away on the sense of emergence and idea generation and also pursuing my tax career. Thankfully, Mardi McBrien came along at just the right time! She saw immediately that the CDSB Framework needed more public exposure and without her, the CDSB Framework might never have seen the light of day. Her imagination and work ethic defines description and transcends all boundaries. When staying in adjacent hotel rooms, I have heard and felt the power of her mind and fingers as they strike the keyboard!  The other voice of reason to temper my more obscure ideas was Gordon (“Gord”) Wilson our greatly esteemed TWG Chair, nominated as Chair by the great Alan Willis.  Gordon’s patience, humour, conviction, discernment and dedication was like a compass guiding us to success.

And we did have some astonishing successes! In 2011, CDSB was recognised as a “constellation star” in Volans’ Future Quotient Awards of 50 Stars in Seriously Long-Term Innovation, alongside China’s 2011 – 2015 5 year plan, the 2012 London Olympics Committee and others including “polestar” James Lovelock and “superstar” Paul Polman. Illustrious company for us indeed! We had many awards over the years and a groaning shelf of trophies, my favourite of which was awarded by Radley Yeldar for the CDSB team being the best dancers in the sustainability world! Our most abiding success has not, but should be, formally recognised and that is the wisdoms (plural intended) of CDSB’s Chairman Rick Samans. His calm, strategic and inclusive chairing has kept CDSB’s resolve and direction alive and fresh.

So many wonderful characters have helped CDSB to the point where it can sail into the sunset hopefully with many friends still aboard. We have navigated some of the challenging waves on the surface of the ocean and collaborated in the depths. We leave the home that CDP so generously gave us and will shortly land on the shores for which we charted our course back in 2007. It is the destination for which we worked and hoped. The cargo we carry to the new land is the rigour, trust, courage, magic and dance steps we developed in CDSB-land.