On 8 January 2024, the Securities Commission (SC) announced that the Advisory Committee on Sustainability Reporting (ACSR) will be conducting an online public consultation in February 2024 regarding the adoption of sustainability disclosure standards released by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) in Malaysia.
The ACSR is chaired by the SC and was formed with the endorsement of the Ministry of Finance. The ACSR includes representatives from Bank Negara Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia Berhad, Companies Commission of Malaysia, Audit Oversight Board and Financial Reporting Foundation.
The International Financial Reporting Standards’ (IFRS) Trustees Foundation announced the formation of the ISSB at the 2021 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP26). The ISSB was established to develop a comprehensive global baseline for sustainability reporting that would meet the needs of investors and the financial markets.
The ISSB developed its first two standards after receiving extensive feedback and calls from the G20, the Financial Stability Standards Boards, International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), and the business and investor communities.
The first two standards are as follows:
IFRS S1 (General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information)
IFRS S2 (Climate related disclosure)
The objective of IFRS S1 is to require an entity to disclose information about its sustainability-related risks and opportunities in financial reports.
Meanwhile, the objective of IFRS S2 is to require companies to disclose information about their climate-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably be expected to affect the entity's cash flows, its access to finance or cost of capital over the short, medium or long term.
During the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), investors with over USD120 trillion of assets under management expressed support for the use of the ISSB Standards.
The Chairman of the SC highlighted the role of the financial sector, particularly the capital market, in supporting the government’s initiatives on sustainability. The Chairman emphasised the importance of reliable and comparable disclosure based on international standards and called for proportionality in their use, along with interoperability between global and domestic frameworks to ease some of the challenges companies may face as they transition to the new standards.
The online public consultation is scheduled for six weeks. During this period, the public can share views and feedback on the implementation approach of the standards by the ISSB. Other considerations on which the public can provide feedback include timing and assurance of sustainability disclosures in Malaysia.
The SC acknowledged that while the immediate consideration is for the ISSB Standards to be applicable to listed issuers, there is also demand for sustainability-related action and information for non-listed issuers. In this regard, he encouraged all stakeholders, including preparers, investors, sustainability assurance providers, rating agencies and others to share their views, as this will help shape the national sustainability reporting framework.
According to the SC, the ACSR has engaged with senior representatives from the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) last year to get a better understanding of the proposed assurance standards for sustainability information, which was made available for public consultation between August and December 2023. As pointed out by the SC, it is crucial to have a robust assurance framework to ensure the reliability of disclosed sustainability information and to prevent the risk of greenwashing.
7 February 2024