The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), and NGX Regulation Limited (NGX RegCo), recently organized five webinars to prepare companies for the imminent release of the ISSB’s first two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, better known as IFRS S1 (General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information); and IFRS S2 (Climate-related Disclosures).
The webinars, which were attended by over 1,500 individuals from Nigeria, Africa and beyond, held from 6 through 8 June 2023. The theme for the webinars was ISSB Industry-based Disclosure: Using the SASB Standards – A Tool for Disclosure of Sustainability-Related Information Aligned with ISSB’s IFRS S1 and IFRS S2. The webinars featured presentations on IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 as well as the industry-specific metrics drawn from the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards. These covered four industries: the Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, Financial Services, and Food & Beverages and Consumer Goods sectors.
Commending the FRC, ISSB and NGX RegCo for their efforts in helping to create awareness around the launch and adoption of IFRS 1 and IFRS 2, the Executive Secretary of the FRCN, Ambassador Shuaibu Adamu, said, “It is encouraging that African countries are coming together to collaborate in this capacity building programme because it is clear that Africa does not intend to be left behind and is partnering with the IFRS Foundation to ensure significant further investment in capacity building for African countries is delivered, also to ensure the ISSB standards are truly global in their implementation. We want to appreciate NGX RegCo for agreeing to partner with us and they have been so far worthy partners in this endeavour. It is also clear that ISSB wants implementation of these standards globally and they have taken time to ensure Africa is not left behind”.
Speaking during the webinar series, the Director, Directorate of Accounting Standards, (Public Sector) of the FRCN, Dr. Iheanyi Anyahara, commended the joint efforts of the organizers to ensure that Nigerian companies are prepared to early adopt the ISSB Standards when they become effective. He also noted that the capacity building engagements will continue even after the webinar series. Additionally, Dr. Anyahara stated that the FRCN has inaugurated the Adoption Readiness Working Group (ARWG), which will make recommendations to the FRCN on the adoption of the IFRS Sustainability Standards in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer of NGX RegCo, Ms. Tinuade Awe stated that “as a member of the NGX Group, NGX RegCo has been involved in furthering the development of sustainability reporting in Nigeria over a period of time.” She noted that the webinars were “necessary in order to get Nigerian and African companies ready to comply with IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 when they become effective so that they will not be left behind in the global race to unlock capital for growth and development.” She expressed her appreciation “to the FRC and the ISSB for collaborating with NGX RegCo in this successful effort.”
On her part, Board Member of the ISSB, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, said that “the IFRS Accounting standards are used across 140 countries and the objective of the IFRS Sustainability Standards is to enable companies provide a global baseline of sustainability-related and climate related disclosures that are decision useful, cost-effective and market informed providing comparability across companies, industries and markets and applicable without undue cost and effort. The sustainability-related disclosures are important to global capital markets, and will develop a common language of sustainability related disclosures that provide decision useful information to investors, with the potential to unlock capital flows.”
A participant in the webinars, Mrs. Adekemi Adisa, General Manager, Sustainability & Shared Value, MTN Nigeria Plc, (a member of the ARWG), noted that “Investors are increasingly demanding reporting on the environmental, social and governance risks affecting the companies they invest in. So sustainability reporting is a critical tool for unlocking the capital that companies need.” Further, she stated that “MTN is an early adopter of the IFRS sustainability standards, which is why I can attest to the fact that the decision of FRC, ISSB and NGX RegCo to build capacity on sustainability reporting is laudable, and a significant building block to keep Nigerian companies attractive recipients of global capital inflows for now and the future.”
Another participant in the webinars, Mrs. Chinomso Nwachukwu, CFO, Nigeria, Interswitch Limited, (a member of the ARWG), maintained that “One of the biggest issues faced by companies with diverse groups of investors is the alignment in reporting standards requirements across the various stakeholders and the attendant burden of compliance in such a situation. The release of IFRS S1 and S2 by the ISSB is a huge relief and would go a long way in addressing this issue for these companies. The ISSB’s training on industry based disclosures was quite useful and provided clarity and insight for me personally on how to embark on this journey. For companies looking to unlock capital flow and who also have aspirations to play globally, this is something that should be embraced as it has come to stay. I am glad to see Nigeria stepping up and working to come up with a road map for adoption. This is a welcome development and I am glad that these conversations are happening now rather than later.”
Also, a member of the ARWG, Dr Onyinye Eneh, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Accountancy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka who also participated in the webinars observed that “The Inaugural meeting of the Adoption Readiness Working Group for Sustainability Reporting in Nigeria was a huge success. The importance of developing and strengthening skills for general sustainability and climate related disclosures IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 will improve its effectiveness in the mainstream practice of Sustainability Reporting and Climate-related disclosure claims. This, therefore requires expert attestation and thorough regulation.”