ISAR sets sights on stronger sustainability reporting and awards winners for 2022

04 November 2022

Experts discuss ways to make it easier for companies to report how they are contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and honour leading initiatives.

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© Shutterstock/stockpexel | An engineer works on an agrivoltaic solar farm.

UNCTAD’s Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) identified best practices to strengthen sustainability reporting by private and public sectors during its 39th session.

More than 400 experts from 84 countries attended the session held from 1 to 3 November.

ISAR is the UN focal point on accounting and corporate governance matters. It assists member states to implement international standards, codes and best practices to facilitate financial stability, international and domestic investment and social and economic progress.

“Sustainability reporting is the basis for sustainable investment,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said while opening the session.

Ms. Grynspan said promoting reliable and comparable sustainability or environmental, social and governance reports would enable responsible investment and facilitate the mobilization of funds for the sustainable development goals.

ISAR committed to working with member states to strengthen sustainability reporting in the public sector, including through collaboration with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board.

Promoting regional partnerships and capacity-building

The annual ISAR technical workshop laid the foundation for the creation of a regional partnership for Asian countries. Workshop participants discussed how to establish efficient cooperation platforms to strengthen national sustainability reporting practices.

“I strongly believe that the regional partnerships – the existing ones and potential further ones in Asia – are of strategic importance at this moment,” said James Zahn, director of UNCTAD’s division on investment and enterprise development.

He said such partnerships are critical at a time when international developments are happening fast and institutional and capacity gaps in many developing countries can become significant hurdles.

ISAR Honours 2022 winners named

UNCTAD feted winners of ISAR Honours 2022 on 2 November.

ISAR Honours recognize policy, institutional or capacity-building initiatives to encourage enterprises to publish data on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Launched five years ago, ISAR Honours have so far attracted 215 nominations from over 40 countries. In 2022, the initiative received 65 applications, a 50% increase over the previous year. 

“We are proud that ISAR Honours is an ever-growing initiative,” Mr. Zhan said. The awards have attracted applicants from all over the world, from developing and developed countries, private and public entities, NGOs and leading regional and international organizations.

The national winners were:

  1. Quality Net Foundation from Greece for the “Greek Sustainability Code” initiative.
  2. The Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines for the “Capacity Building Exercises and Partnerships on Sustainability Reporting” initiative.
  3. The National Planning Department of Colombia, UNDP Colombia and GRI for the “SDG-Corporate Tracker” initiative.

The international winners were:

  1. The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation for the “Improving Sustainability Reporting in Emerging Markets” initiative.
  2. United Nations Global Compact for the “New Communication on Progress” initiative.
  3. The World Economic Forum for the “Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics” initiative.

The Mexican Financial Reporting Standards Board received special recognition in the national category for its initiative entitled “Establishment of a Sustainability Strategy – Issuing of Mexican Sustainability Disclosure Standards” and the Belgian Institute of Registered Auditors for its “Awards for Best Belgian Sustainability Reports” initiative.

Special recognition in the international category went to Africa RSE and CSR Network Africa for their initiatives on harmonizing business law and raising awareness on corporate social responsibility initiatives in Africa.

ISAR Honours 2022 celebrate national and international best practices on sustainability reporting by private and public sectors.