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SEC readies revised rules for reports on sustainability

September 6, 2023 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to release a memorandum circular on the revised guidelines for publicly listed companies (PLCs) to improve their reporting and efforts on sustainability.

In a statement on Tuesday, the SEC said the soon-to-be-released circular will include the Sustainability Reporting (SuRe) form to guide PLCs with their reports.

“The revised guidelines seek to further enhance the quality of sustainability reporting and ensure consistency of non-financial information submitted by PLCs,” the SEC said.

According to the SEC, the revised guidelines will consider global sustainability standards like the IFRS S1 (General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information) and IFRS S2 (Climate-related Disclosures), among others.

“These standards serve as an effective and proportionate global framework of investor-focused disclosures on sustainability and climate-related risks and opportunities,” the regulator said.

The SEC noted a steady increase in the submission of sustainability reports by PLCs as the compliance rate reached 95% in 2021, lower than 96% in 2020 but higher than 93% in 2019.

Around 22% of PLCs disclosed their sustainability reports to the SEC before the release of the guidelines in 2017.

“This is a significant step towards consistent, comparable, and reliable sustainability information, ending the so-called alphabet soup of voluntary adoption of various standards,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.

“The adoption of the IFRS S1 and S2 standards will complement the Commission’s adoption of frameworks under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development-International Standards of Accounting and Reporting Guidance on Core Indicators,” he added.

Earlier in the year, the SEC adopted the ASEAN Sustainable and Responsible Fund Standards, which allows both local and ASEAN-member investment companies and collective investment scheme operators to offer sustainable and responsible funds locally and across the region.

[Business World Online]

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