The case for developing a ‘social’ standard as a matter of priority

As the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) considers its forward workplan, looking beyond its first draft standards on Climate and General Requirements, it should be a priority for the Board to develop a thematic standard on ‘social-related’ disclosures. This can provide a much-needed, coherent frame for the future integration of sector-specific standards that build on the work of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and others regarding, for example, health and safety, and diversity, equity and inclusion, along with other aspects of human capital. But a general standard on social-related disclosures is a necessary precursor to addressing those more granular issues.

In these comments, we elaborate on the case for a thematic ISSB standard on social-related disclosures, before touching briefly on the alternative ways such a standard could be framed. Finally, we highlight a number of ways in which this standard should complement but go beyond ISSB’s ‘General Requirements’ draft standard to address the particular risks and opportunities associated with social issues.