‘Big Four’ agree on ESG standards

The ‘Big Four’ accounting firms have revealed a joint set of accounting standards under the World Economic Form.

The idea has been under discussion since the beginning of the year, and was floated at Davos, as a replacement for several competing standards (such as GRI, SASB, TCFD, CDSB and others), but now the concept has taken more material form, and critically Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC have all agreed to the principle.

Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO, Bank of America and chairman of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum acknowledges that COVID-19 has hastened action, noting: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of our global systems. It has exacerbated underlying economic and social inequalities and is unfolding at the same time as a mounting climate crisis.”

It has long been a complaint that reporting can be muddled without a form of agreed standards, and yet the past few years have seen the number of different ‘standards’ multiply. With the general move towards better and clearer reporting on all matters (such as New Zealand’s move to compulsory reporting on climate impact) it has been a drag on progress not to have a set of metrics for the accounting firms.

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