The government’s vision statement and the Institute’s sustainability disclosure standards development

The Institute’s response to the government’s vision of aligning local sustainability disclosure requirements with the International Sustainability Standards Board standards

The Hong Kong government issued the Vision Statement on Turning Obligations into Opportunities in Developing the Sustainability Disclosure Ecosystem in Hong Kong on 25 March to outline the government and financial regulators’ aim for Hong Kong to be among the first jurisdictions to align local sustainability disclosure requirements with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Sustainability Disclosure Standards issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

The Hong Kong Institute of CPAs issued a response welcoming the government’s vision statement. The Institute stated it remains committed to playing a significant role within the government’s vision as the sustainability reporting standard setter in Hong Kong, and looks forward to participate as part of the government’s capacity building efforts to prepare local stakeholders for sustainability reporting.

In the response, the Institute applauded the government’s dedication to driving sustainability and recognition towards the importance of collaboration between regulators, the accounting profession and businesses, and other stakeholders to ensure the success of this initiative. The Institute stated it would continue to work with financial regulators and stakeholders in developing a roadmap on the appropriate adoption of the ISSB standards to align with international standards, while recognizing the specific circumstance in Hong Kong.

“As the sustainability reporting standard setter in Hong Kong, the HKICPA is ready to take upon the monumental task of developing local sustainability reporting standards closely aligned with the ISSB standards. We will continue to work closely with fellow members of the Working Group on Sustainability Disclosures under the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group (CASG) and other stakeholders to develop a roadmap within 2024 on the appropriate adoption of the ISSB standards,” said Roy Leung, President of the HKICPA.

The HKICPA’s role as standard setter


The Institute has been committed to enabling the profession to contribute to the sustainability journey through active communication with its international counterparts, and local capacity and awareness building. To ensure the appropriate alignment of the ISSB standards for Hong Kong, the Institute has been working closely with the CASG since the early stages of designing the local sustainability reporting framework.

As stated in the government’s statement, the HKICPA is honoured to continue the role of sustainability reporting standard setter in Hong Kong and to support the government’s vision of aligning local sustainability disclosure requirements with the ISSB standards, as well as providing complementary application and implementation guidance.

The Institute will continue to work with relevant stakeholders in its role to develop sustainability-related assurance and ethics standards, with the goal of instilling confidence in the accuracy and reliability of sustainability disclosures.

On capacity building


The Institute also stated its support for the government’s commitment to continuing existing capacity building schemes and developing capacity enhancement programmes for preparers, reporting and assurance professionals, and sustainability-related service providers. In line with these initiatives, the HKICPA is actively contributing to the comprehensive capacity building programme to prepare local stakeholders for sustainability reporting.

The HKICPA’s admittance into the ISSB Partnership Framework for Capacity Building in July 2023 demonstrates our active involvement in supporting the implementation of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards. In anticipation of the standards, the Institute has enhanced the HKICPA Qualification Programme syllabuses to include sustainability-related subjects across different modules and will continue these efforts. The HKICPA also offers a range of trainings, workshops and publications to prepare stakeholders for the implementation of the ISSB standards and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong’s revised climate disclosure requirements.

The Institute has established a dedicated ESG Information Centre webpage to provide updates on this initiative and offer useful resources, including our current suite of sustainability-related trainings. In addition, the Institute plans to establish a dedicated platform for our local stakeholders to submit implementation questions regarding the standards.

Keeping members updated


To provide members with an update on the progress of our standard-setting work in this regard, the Institute published Alert 49: Updates on the Institute’s Sustainability Disclosure Standards development. The alert covers the Institute’s latest participation in local and international developments, and detailed capacity building efforts, and next steps.

The Institute also announced that its sustainability-focused deep dive workshops have been recognized as eligible programmes within the Pilot Green and Sustainable Finance Capacity Building Support Scheme by the government. Upon successful completion of the programme, eligible applicants may claim up to 80 percent of the reimbursable fees, while full-time students may claim up to 100 percent of the reimbursable fees. This is an important step towards the formulating a comprehensive capacity building programme for Institute members.

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