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.

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

It is now time to turn our legacy over to the new home: the IFRS Foundation - Mardi McBrien

I have been privileged to work in the CDSB Secretariat for over a decade – and what a roller coaster ride it has been. The sustainability and ESG reporting landscape has seen a huge amount of problem-solving work in that time, as we seek to fix or activate a part of the global system to drive more transparent, resilient and sustainable outcomes. CDSB was never the noisiest or flashiest of the market interventions – what we were known for, which I am very proud of, is contributing high-quality technical interventions to fill the gaps and advance reporting to the investor audience globally.

With the IFRS Foundation's announcement of the establishment of an International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow last November, alongside the convergence of CDSB and the Value Reporting Foundation into the IFRS Foundation to give the new board a running start, our mandate to fill a gap in the absence of a globally authoritative body to set sustainability standards for investors in the mainstream corporate report and accounts was achieved.  

We never had a blockbuster budget but what we did have was a group of amazing, hard-working, and creative individuals to power the Secretariat. People were always surprised how much impact we had for such a small team. CDSB was spoilt with the riches of a global community who got behind our work, contributing wherever and whatever they could. Working tirelessly to make CDSB the success it is today and ultimately achieve our mission, something few not-for-profits or charities are lucky enough to ever realise.

Moments you don’t forget as a standard setter 

The first time you read your framework in a mainstream report, in our case BT (thanks Ian Wood). The first time you find that email in the company mailbox that says, “I read your framework with joy” (thanks Jane Jagd…). The first time you go to speak somewhere and people don’t get you confused with CDP and ACTUALLY do know what you do. It isn’t just carbon (or climate for that matter). You secure funding and a donor gets what you do. You win your first award after many years validating all the efforts of the community who made it happen. The first time you get acknowledged in government policy, or in something even bigger like the TCFD recommendations…. so many firsts and memories.

Our founders recognised that issues such as climate were a material foreseeable risk to the financial system long before others. I fondly remember being approached in a bar after the CDSB logo was spotted on my laptop. The new friend led with the line “you were Carney before Carney” referring to the Governor of the Bank of England, TCFD and our existing climate disclosures framework.  The team worked hard to the very end, ensuring as part of our legacy that we put social and environmental information on an equal footing, covering all areas of ESG in our work.  We’ve paved uncharted roads until the end, years ahead of our time with issues we tackled 10 years ago now resurfacing for discussion as we get started on the new ISSB.

CDSB’s logo, the rubine dot, wasn’t a lazy attempt at a logo. It, along with the rest of our brand, was designed to demonstrate how CDSB’s work connected and fitted to harmonise different parts of the corporate reporting system with the foundations of technical rigour and practical application holding it together. And we never went alone, we worked with partners across the world to create the enabling conditions for financial information and non-financial information to be treated and reported the same.

Although CDSB rubine red dot has passed below the horizon, our work remains relevant and valid until such a time as the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards are published. Our work is an excellent starting point for global sustainability – we no longer have the luxury of time.

A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to CDSB’s Board, Technical Working Group and community of supporters who got behind us and helped us change the way the financial system treated ESG issues. I personally couldn’t have done it without your time, dedication and support.

It has been a privilege to lead the CDSB Secretariat, to work with such talented, energetic, and hardworking people. It is now time to turn our legacy over to the new home – the IFRS Foundation.

Mardi McBrien, CDSB Secretariat team (Feb 2, 2011- Feb 1, 2022).