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.

For CDSB, it’s “mission achieved”

Paul Simpson, CDSB Board Member and CEO of CDP

Writing this in 2022, it’s difficult to recall just how different the global environmental reporting landscape was in 2007, when the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) was founded. ESG reporting was still a relatively novel concept, with a handful of organizations striving to encourage corporates to recognize the importance of environmental data to their operations.

However, even in those early days, many of us involved in environmental reporting knew how important a clear, consistent, and comparable global approach would be. It was also clear that such disclosure would be strengthened by being more closely integrated with financial reporting. CDSB was founded in response, to develop global standards on sustainability-related financial reporting for capital markets. Since then, CDSB has played an integral role in the ESG ecosystem, driving innovation, increasing ambition and building market best practice. It was the fact that companies could use the CDSB Framework to incorporate climate change and nature capital-related information into mainstream financial reports, a framework that allowed for environmental reporting with the same rigour as financial, that was the key innovation.

CDP was founded in the year 2000 to transform capital markets consideration of climate change through disclosure - we invented climate and environmental disclosure and have operated the global market-led environmental disclosure platform since then. CDP is immensely proud to have hosted the CDSB global secretariat since its inception in 2007, fostering its growth, leading the delivery of the strategy and managing the day-to-day work programme on behalf of the consortium of business and environment NGOs that make up the Board. Credit must go to Rick Samans, then of the World Economic Forum, who came up with the idea for CDSB, that we must take the work of CDP and turn it into standards of a quality on a par with financial accounting. It’s been a privilege to see CDSB develop so significantly over the past fifteen years, growing from a team of two to twenty, producing valuable thought leadership which has guided the development of international guidelines and regulation on sustainability, with the support of CDP. 

Globally, the last twelve months have marked a turning point in the development of disclosure standards. It is clear that the crucial developments in disclosure and standardization we are seeing today would not have been possible without the valuable thought leadership provided by CDSB and CDP.

The creation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) by the IFRS Foundation is a critically important development. We have transformed capital markets to make climate and environmental disclosure required for the effective operations of markets and management of risk. The establishment of ISSB represents the institutionalization of CDP and CDSB’s work.

Now, CDSB will fill another crucial space through its convergence with the IFRS Foundation and add vital value to the ISSB standards development process. Its involvement will ensure that the new Board has a strong foundation and can move rapidly, building on existing best practices and CDSB’s comprehensive frameworks. This is something that all of us in the ecosystem have pushed for.

One of the most positive signals I’ve seen in recent years is the cooperation and collaboration between providers of sustainability standards and guidance. Despite the narrative from some of an “alphabet soup”, leading organizations have never lost sight of a shared goal of a harmonized set of global reporting standards that will truly support corporates to disclose in the most meaningful and relevant ways. Last November’s launch of the ISSB to create standards for sustainability-related financial disclosure, alongside the development of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), which embrace double materiality or impacts on people and planet, have marked significant steps forward towards this shared goal. CDP will continue to engage in both of these critical processes as well as support developments in other jurisdictions.

Although CDSB will no longer be under the same roof as CDP, we look forward to working closely with the IFRS Foundation and the ISSB to support its work on standards for environmental reporting, building on our contributions to the climate reporting prototype and leveraging our data, insights and expertise. As the global environmental disclosure system, CDP will accelerate the rollout of both global and jurisdictional standards and work to mainstream their widespread adoption as we did for the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Going forward we have high hopes for the ISSB, that over the next couple of years it will deliver high-quality environmental and social standards for sustainability disclosure for capital markets, that these will achieve widespread adoption and ultimately become required by policy. Sustainability disclosure is the foundation of a sustainable economy, and we have no time to waste.

Finally, I’m personally very proud of all that CDSB has achieved and to have worked alongside our colleagues for so many years. CDSB was established to fill a vacuum and with that space now filled by the IFRS Foundation and the ISSB, the vision upon which CDSB was founded is on the cusp of becoming a reality. I must thank all of the team at CDSB, CDP, The IFRS Foundation, our funders, the CDSB board, Technical Working Group and many other supporters. Few organizations can say “mission achieved” as CDSB can today. I for one, am excited to see them work towards achieving their next step as part of the ISSB.