Accounting StandardsBig Four

‘Big Four’ release initiative on ESG reporting standards

The ‘Big Four’ global accounting firms have this week released a joint initiative with the World Economic Forum which aims to persuade 130 large global companies to take on new reporting ESG reporting standards for their 2021 accounts.

According to The Financial Times, the new framework for environmental, social and governance standards will mark the “first truly co-ordinated” method of ESG reporting.

The move could elicit greater investment in the sector, which the FT estimated to currently c.$32tn in total.

The proposed framework houses 21 “core” metrics and 34 “extended” metrics, comprising emissions, pay gaps, gender ratios and governance targets.

Currently, there are a large number of different sustainability metrics used by investment groups, ranging from the Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, to the Global Reporting Initiative.

Punit Renjen, global chief executive at Deloitte, told the FT: “Right now, there is an alphabet soup of metrics.

“It is important for us to have a common set of standards and if there is widespread adoption it will lead to change in behaviour.”

Carmine di Sibio, head of EY, told the paper: “This is the first time we [the Big Four] have done something like this.

“This will take what the Business Roundtable put out last year [about stakeholders] and make it real.”

Bob Moritz, head of PricewaterhouseCoopers, added: “[Society’s] struggles have only got worse with Covid and the only way we solve those problems is to get the capital to the right places. We need a framework to help investors get the information they need.”

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