The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is expected to issue a set of ESG disclosure standards by the end of 2022, which is likely to be accepted internationally, as reported by Sina News on April 20. The Vice-Chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), Fang Xinghai, commented on the ISSB standards’ upcoming release at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022. Fang expressed that the CSRC has advised the ISSB to fully consider the needs of emerging markets such as China when drafting ESG disclosure standards. The ISSB is currently seeking worldwide feedback on the draft.
The founding of the ISSB was formally announced by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation on November 3, 2021, during the COP26 global climate summit. The ISSB is charged with the responsibility of developing and publishing the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards as a comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures for the capital markets. In response, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has prepared its ESG reporting standards based on the ISSB standards and is currently seeking comments on the draft before its adoption at the end of the year. Beginning in January 2024, the SEC will require large companies to publish ESG data for the previous fiscal year under the new standards. Although the CSRC has not yet mandated Chinese companies to report ESG data, the number of A-share listed companies voluntarily sharing ESG data has steadily climbed in recent years. According to People.cn, 1,112 A-share listed companies had published ESG-related reports by the end of June 2021, up from 371 in 2019.