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Sustainability and non-financial reporting

A topic of growing interest to governments, companies and investors around the world, sustainability and integrated reporting are also closely related to the accounting profession. This page provides convenient access to useful related information, including the work of the Institute as well as other local and international organizations championing sustainability and integrated reporting.

Over the last decade there has been an increasing awareness of and interest in non-financial aspects of corporate reporting, sometimes referred to as “non-GAAP” measures. Interest has grown significantly within the past year, with far more prominent discourse about the importance of non-financial corporate reporting in the international arena with contributions from a wide range of stakeholders including national, regional and international accountancy bodies, standard setters, investors – and even companies.


In particular, investors are demanding more and higher quality information about company performance, risks, opportunities, and long-term prospects than are available from the conventional financial reporting process. Consequently companies are recognizing the importance of providing detailed information in their corporate reporting. Ensuring that corporate reporting includes information – both financial and non-financial – that is relevant, reliable and comparable will enhance trust in companies and confidence in markets.



9 June 2021. The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) merged to form the Value Reporting Foundation. In this video Janine Guillot, the CEO of the foundation, discusses the new body and the global reporting landscape.


On 31 March 2021, Kevin Dancey, Chief Executive Officer of the International Federation of Accountants published a post on the two announcements and called for the accounting community to support the new international sustainability board. 


On 22 March 2021, the IFRS Foundation Trustees announced the formation of a working group to accelerate convergence in global sustainability reporting standards focused on enterprise value and to undertake technical preparation for a potential international sustainability reporting standards board under the foundation. The International Organization of Securities Commissions, which will be an observer to the new working group, announced its support for the initiative and the formation of its own Technical Expert Group to review the working group’s work. 


8 March 2021. The IFRS Foundation Trustees announced its strategic direction and further steps based on feedback to its sustainability reporting consultation. Read the press release for more information about how they plan to establish an international sustainability reporting standards board.


19 January 2021. The International Integrated Reporting Council published revisions to the International Integrated Reporting Framework to enable more decision-useful reporting. The revisions focus on a simplification of the required statement of responsibility for the integrated report; improved insight into the quality and integrity of the underlying reporting process; a clearer distinction between outputs and outcomes; and a greater emphasis on the balanced reporting of outcomes and value preservation and erosion scenarios. 


11 September 2020.  Five framework- and standard-setting institutions of international significance, CDP, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), co-published a shared vision of the elements necessary for more comprehensive corporate reporting and a joint statement of intent to drive towards this goal. GRI, SASB, CDP and CDSB set the frameworks and standards for sustainability disclosure, including climate-related reporting. The IIRC provides the integrated reporting framework that connects sustainability disclosure to reporting on financial and other capitals. Taken together, these organizations guide the overwhelming majority of sustainability and integrated reporting. The joint statement from this group shows a commitment to engage with all stakeholders to achieve the globally accepted comprehensive corporate reporting system that is urgently needed.





As a leading international financial centre, Hong Kong’s position and presence means that international trends and developments have to be monitored and understood.


Locally, this trend has been manifested in the introduction of the HKEX ESG Reporting Guidelines in 2014, with regular updates. The largest update, effective for financial years commencing on or after 1 July 2020, means that companies are required to disclose additional ESG information. Learn more about the changes in this article from A Plus.




The Institute is represented on the Prince's Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network, and is constantly engaged with other global institutions including the Global Reporting Initiative and the International Integrated Reporting Council on sustainability-related matters.




In our Strategic Plan 2020-2022 Building Trust in the Profession, we set out how over the next three years we would support members and the development of the profession. The plan includes the key action items of developing non-financial reporting guidelines and an environmental, social and governance reporting assurance framework.


To further help our members understand the importance and rapidly developing direction of non-financial reporting we have set up a dedicated webpage to collate key publications and communications. Through the webpage we will provide simple narratives to explain the key issues being aired and to direct members’ attention to what we judge to be the most important and relevant information. We will also continue to ensure that our members remain supported in their understanding of local reporting requirements and standards.



The Institute has published Auditing and Assurance Technical Bulletin (AATB) 5 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Assurance Reporting to provide practical non-authoritative support material intended to assist practitioners in performing ESG assurance engagements in accordance with Hong Kong Standard on Assurance Engagements 3000 (Revised) Assurance Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information.


The International Federation of Accountants issued a statement to the global accountancy profession on Corporate Reporting: Climate Change Information and the 2021 Reporting Cycle, which highlights the current information concerns of investors, regulators and policy makers, reviews standard-setter responses, and recommends how companies and accountants can address these concerns.


Chartered accountants are at the centre of ESG reporting, from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales discusses how ESG risks are both business and investment risks, and that accountants are at the heart of reporting on them.  


With the awareness of environmental and social issues increasing, sustainability reporting is shaping the future of business reporting. To help finance professionals stay updated, the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project’s Accounting Bodies Network (ABN), of which the Institute is a member, has published Navigating the Reporting Landscape. The guide sets out how the corporate reporting landscape is changing, and how these developments are impacting the role of the accountant.


Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in an organization will rely on the knowledge, skills and processes inherent within the finance function. Finance professionals are well placed to develop pathways to achieve net zero, setting interim targets, allocating funds, reporting progress and integrating net zero into decision making processes over time. The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) has developed guidance to share the practical steps that finance teams can take to support their organization to progress towards net zero emissions.


A4S Building a Better Future


Recent A Plus articles

December 2020 issue  

Thought leadership


So you want to "do TCFD"?


Dr Nadira Lamrad, The Director – Sustainability and ESG Advisory of the Business Environment Council on how businesses can commit to disclosing via Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

How to


How to apply ethical leadership in ESG


Jannie Tam, Founder and Senior Director, at GROWDynamics Talent Development, on setting the ESG tone from the top



A summary of the Institute’s new assurance technical bulletin for ESG reporting


An overview of the Institute’s recently published guidance on environmental, social and governance assurance



November 2020 issue  

Special report


Adding sustainable value


A special report on the work and skills of environmental, social and governance reporting specialists

Accountant Plus


A new purpose


Dr Artie Ng, Deputy Director of School of Professional Education and Executive Development of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, on how he is enhancing sustainability reporting competency among his students



The TCFD Knowledge Hub, jointly developed by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, is a platform containing relevant insights, tools and resources to help organizations implement the TCFD recommendations.