18 November 2022 (Updated 31 August 2023)

What’s the issue?

Investors need information across a broad range of topics to make their decisions. This is because sustainability-related risks and opportunities affect a company’s prospects both individually and in combination in different ways.

The general standard1 provides a framework for companies to disclose material information across all sustainability-related topics, not just climate. In the future, additional standards on other topics are expected.

In the absence of topic-specific ISSB Standards, companies need to use the framework provided in the general standard to identify other sources of guidance.

What are the requirements?

Companies need to consider other guidance in the absence of specific ISSBTM Standards when reporting on topics other than climate.

The general standard differentiates between guidance a company “shall” consider (i.e. guidance companies need to assess for relevance but not necessarily apply) and guidance companies “may” consider (i.e. there is no requirement to use these materials).

As the first step, companies identify all sustainability-related risks and opportunities to which they are exposed – i.e. the key factors that will influence the prospects of the business in the short, medium and long term.


In a second step, companies identify material information to disclose about their sustainability-related risks and opportunities.


What’s the impact?

Companies will need to assess whether industry-specific SASB2 disclosure topics and underlying metrics are relevant to their operations. This exercise can start now.

Other guidance, including the CDSB3 Framework Application Guidance for Water-and Biodiversity-related Disclosures, has a place in the ISSB Standards, particularly while the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is working on developing future standards on further topics.

The explicit permission to consider the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRSs) to meet the objectives of the general standard will be particularly helpful for companies that already report GRI metrics or those in the scope of ESRSs, as it supports interoperability and the global baseline approach. 

Actions for management

  • Read our guide to learn more about the standards and what they would require.
  • Consider the SASB disclosure topics and metrics, if you have not already done so.
  • Explore whether other existing frameworks such as the CDSB Framework Application Guidance would be relevant for identifying sustainability-related risks and opportunities and related disclosures for your company.
  • Consider whether any disclosures under ESRSs (if appropriate) may be relevant for disclosing sustainability-related risks and opportunities. This may support alignment if your company is required or wishes to apply both sets of standards.
  • Assess whether any disclosures that your company already reports under GRI Standards will fulfil the objectives of the ISSB Standards.
  • Consider undertaking a benchmarking exercise against industry peers or companies within your jurisdiction to identify relevant sustainability-related risks and opportunities and related disclosures to consider.

1 IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information.

2 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

3 Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB).

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