Introduction to CDSB, a G100 Virtual Forum – Selected Notes

Terrence Jeyaretnam, Partner EY, and head of the G100 Sustainability Committee – opening note

Welcome, everyone! 

Firstly I want to acknowledge the G100 Sustainability Committee members who are here today, Karen Williams, John Purcell, and Simon Cowell. We’ve also got Stephen Woodhill, CEO and Executive Director of the G100 to introduce the Group of 100 (G100). 

I also want to say a few words on our guest Mardi McBrien, Managing Director of CDSB. She is a fellow Australian, Melbourne Uni graduate, who has been living in Europe for some time now. As the Managing Director of the CDSB, Mardi has been driving the integration of pilot and broader environmental information into corporate reporting for the last two decades. 

Mardi is also a member of various councils like the GRI Stakeholder Council, the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI), the Sustainability Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, and the IIRC Council.

Stephen Woodhill, CEO and Executive Director of the G100 – introduction to the G100

Thank you all for joining us this morning to the latest digital forum jointly organised by the G100 Sustainability Committee in collaboration with CA ANZ and CPA Australia. And thank you to EY for hosting this event. As most of you know the G100 is the industry association representing CFOs, senior finance executives and their teams, so issues such as reporting are critical to all our members. 

The G100 Sustainability Committee spent considerable time looking at corporate reporting models, and we are very much looking forward to hearing about the Climate Disclosure Standard Boards (CDSB) framework for reporting environmental information. 

Terence, I want to thank you, particularly as the head of the committee for driving these webinars and thank you to Mardi McBrien, Managing Director of CDSB for joining us. I appreciate you putting in the effort for us; we are very much looking forward to hearing from you.

Mardi McBrien, Managing Director of CDSB – presenting the CDSB

Thank you, Stephen and Terrence and then the rest of the G100 for inviting me. 

CDSB was set up at the World Economic Forum in 2007 and consulted with nine business and environmental NGOs. Thinking back to 2007, we had the greenhouse gas protocol that companies were all starting to apply. We also had organisations like the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) joining in sustainability reporting as the move around information and better data on these topics. We had regulators that wanted to mandate, globally, but didn’t know where to start and couldn’t even agree on the climate goals and climate targets, and investors were saying “we actually can’t use this information in a meaningful way”. 

CDSB was set up to address that gap. The IFRS Foundation has released the interpretive guidance on accounting greenhouses. In 2015 we expanded to environments and integration to capital markets by the mainstream. To do that, we are supported by a talented group of technical experts that help us with that work; we have about 55 organisations globally who can provide technical rigour and oversight to the development of our framework and guidance. 

The framework is broken down into principles and requirements. It is using corporate governance codes and accounting standards across the world, and a lot of it is drawn from the IASB conceptual framework. It provides the “how-to and what does it look like” reporting landscape. It does cover things like natural capital dependencies, impacts performance targets risks and opportunities, and it lays them out. The framework is for financially material information only. It undergoes a rigorous standard-setting process marrying the IASB with our technical workgroup. 

We have had 455 companies globally, referring to the framework in their annual reports, and we had a lot of feedback too. The next iteration will come later, but we did have a consultation earlier this year, about whether the framework was still fit for purpose for natural capital reporting and the overwhelming responses said yes. 

We are sure that we are still evolving and right, and we are doing many other things to help issuers prepare reports, for instance, we launched our first implementation guide series recently. We have created an application guide series to the framework, and we released the climate guidance this week. 

We also have a water guidance, that’s currently underway. We have got an expert group of 45 water experts globally working with our technical group to produce the guidance, and the Australian Water Standards does sit on that group and advising. 

We may also bring up other papers as issues arise, but this is just the current series that we have to support the “how-to and what does it look like” in terms of framework use. 

One thing about all of these different frameworks and standards is that they were all created to fill a gap in the market, primarily by the market itself, and so they all do fit together nicely. Maybe we all have not communicated as well as we should have about how they do fit together, but the CDSB is committed to helping to sort this out. 

CDSB can help you put what you may have captured that is material into your annual report. And if you don’t know what is material for your sector, SASB is the best place to go to get that.

Claire Grayson, Policy Adviser – Audit & Assurance of CPA Australia – closing note

In this series of Virtual Forums on Corporate Reporting, organised by the G100 Sustainability Committee, we have been trying to understand the different available frameworks. Todays’ session was very interesting and helpful.

Mardi has outlined a considerable amount of material available on the CDSB website in all kinds of formats to assist in implementing the framework, and that will be hugely useful to everyone on the line. Thank you Mardi! 

Also thank you Terence and EY for hosting this G100 sustainability forum. 

Thank you, everyone, for attending!