The ESG-standard-setting organizations SASB and IIRC officially merged Wednesday, creating the Value Reporting Foundation.
Officials with the International Integrated Reporting Council and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board announced the merger plan in November.
SASB CEO Janine Guillot, who will serve as CEO of the Value Reporting Foundation, said on a press briefing call that the merger is a direct response to requests from businesses and investors for more clarity. The new group will offer a "more coherent and comprehensive reporting system. One global organization with one unified strategy," she said. The goal is to "clarify and simplify, and we have to do that in steps. This is one step."
The new foundation's resources include integrated thinking principles, the integrated reporting framework and SASB standards, which can be used alone or in combination.
Having similar concepts organized in slightly different ways by various organizations "is the kind of thing that drives preparers crazy," and simplifying it "is absolutely essential if you ever want to get to an environment that's digitally accessible," Ms. Guillot said. By putting a full cycle of reporting under one roof I think that's really going to improve the quality of reporting between businesses and investors."
The need for a global system for sustainability reporting "seems to have rocketed to the top of the global policy agenda," in part due to the COVID-19 crisis, said Ms. Guillot.
She noted that there are three major efforts underway globally, including IFRS Foundation plans to develop standards, the European Union "moving very rapidly" on legislation for corporate disclosure and sustainable reporting, and the Securities and Exchange Commission's consideration of climate disclosure rules. The SEC "is also sending signals on international cooperation," she said.