SEC ready to expand sustainability reporting

THE Securities and Exchange Commission said it is open to expand the scope or focus on biodiversity in its sustainability reporting guidelines that it required to the publicly listed companies.

“Please be informed that we are studying this and we are open to recommendations,” the SEC’s Corporate Governance and Finance Department said.

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and Global Reporting Initiative earlier joined forces on the technical work for their respective new biodiversity standards.

EFRAG is to make the draft European Union standard available to the European Commission in mid-June next year, while GRI’s aims to release an updated GRI Biodiversity Standard in the second half of 2022.

The Philippines mainly uses the GRI guidelines on how to craft the sustainability reports.

Co-construction means EFRAG and GRI join each other’s technical expert groups, share information, align work plans and adjust timelines as much as possible.

The joint work will incorporate the latest developments and authoritative intergovernmental instruments in the field of biodiversity, will enable consideration of double materiality perspectives, and ensure multi-stakeholder consensus.

“Co-constructing our new biodiversity standard with EFRAG marks a significant next step in our collaboration. Aligning global and European sustainability reporting will result in more effective, comprehensive and comparable biodiversity reporting,” Judy Kuszewski, chair of the Global Sustainability Standards Board, which has responsibility for setting the GRI Standards, said.

She said one of the key takeaways from COP 26, or the United Nations Climate Change Conference, was that climate change and biodiversity loss are intrinsically linked.

“Holding organizations accountable for their impacts is crucial to break the chain of events on both, for which transparency forms the basis. Not only will high-quality disclosures lead to better decisions by the companies, it also will inform decisions from providers of capital, labor, and governments. That is why the review of GRI 304: Biodiversity 2016 is so important to us,” she said.

“Our aim is to create the highest possible level of alignment between the European Sustainability Reporting Standards and the GRI Standards. Such alignment will also help address a second requirement from the Commission, which was to minimize the additional reporting pressure on organizations,” Patrick de Cambourg, chair of the EFRAG Project Task Force leading the technical work to develop EU sustainability reporting standards, said.

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