Your Guide to IFRS S1 and S2 | EcoOnline US

Your guide to IFRS S1 and S2

Written by Laura Fitzgerald

Published May 2, 2024

June 2023 saw the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) issue their much-anticipated sustainability standards: IFRS S1 and S2.

If you are new to sustainability reporting, the plethora of similar looking initialisms can be a challenge to navigate. IFRS S1 and S2 were introduced with the goal of consolidating the already crowded sustainability standards landscape. As they are the culmination of several pre-existing frameworks and standards, those who have used the likes of SASB standards in the past will now have to make a change.

These standards came into effect for the reporting period starting on/after the 1st of January 2024.

Still with us?

To make things more manageable, this blog post will provide a breakdown of IFRS S1 and S2. We will also take a look at the wider context of the frameworks and standards that are now under the banner of the IFRS.

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What are IFRS S1 and S2?

IFRS S1 and S2 are sustainability reporting standards. According to the  SASB, standards: “provide specific, detailed and replicable requirements for what should be reported for each topic, including metrics.” 

The purpose of these standards is to relay pertinent financial information to interested stakeholders, such as investors, regulators, companies etc.

The IFRS standards are broken down as follows:

  • IFRS S1 - General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information
  • IFRS S2 - Climate-related Disclosures

As indicated by their names, IFRS S1 requires reporting companies to disclose information about any sustainability-related risks and opportunities, while IFRS S2 requires the reporting of climate-related risks and opportunities. Both S1 and S2 are to be provided alongside financial statements.

It’s important to note that organizations will be able to disclose only their climate-related risks and opportunities (S2) in the first year of applying the standards and report their full sustainability-related risks and opportunities (S1) starting in year 2. 

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Snapshot of IFRS S1 and S2

IFRS S1 outlines how entities should prepare and present their sustainability-related financial disclosures, setting out general requirements for the content and presentation of the information. The goal is to provide investors with meaningful data for decision-making regarding resource allocation to / investment in the organization.

IFRS S1 mandates the disclosure of the following aspects:

  • All sustainability-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably impact the entity’s cash flows, access to finance, or cost of capital in the short, medium, or long term 
  • The entity’s governance processes, controls, and procedures for monitoring and managing sustainability-related risks and opportunities 
  • The entity’s strategy for managing said risks and opportunities 
  • The entity’s processes for identifying, assessing, prioritizing and monitoring said risks and opportunities 
  • The entity’s performance in relation to sustainability-related targets or mandatory regulatory/legal requirements

Taking a closer look: IFRS S2

IFRS S2 applies to any climate-related risks to which an entity is exposed to and includes climate-related physical risks, climate-related transitions risks, and climate-related opportunities available to the entity.

IFRS S2 mandates the disclosure of the following aspects:

  • All climate-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably impact the entity’s cash flows, access to finance, or cost of capital in the short, medium, or long term 
  • The entity’s governance processes, controls, and procedures for monitoring and managing climate-related risks and opportunities 
  • The entity’s strategy for managing said risks and opportunities
  • The entity’s processes for identifying, assessing, prioritizing and monitoring said risks and opportunities
  • The entity’s performance in relation to climate-related targets and any targets that are mandatory, including regulatory/legal requirements

In the first year of application, companies will be exempt from disclosing their scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions as a transition period.

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The goal: Creating a global baseline

Now that we know more about the ‘what’ of IFRS S1 and S2, let’s move on to the ‘why’.

There is no shortage of voluntary sustainability standards and frameworks, and with this comes the risk of confusion and duplication of reporting work.

According to the IFRS, as sustainability issues continue to form a greater part of investment decision making, companies will be expected to provide high-quality, comprehensive information on sustainability-related risks and opportunities.

In 2021, the IFRS Foundation formed the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), an independent standard-setting body. In an effort to move away from the increasingly ‘fragmented landscape’ of global sustainability standards and frameworks, the IFRS Foundation (and ISSB) has subsumed several well-established sustainability standards and frameworks into the organization: 

  • *Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) – 2023  
  • Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) – 2022  
  • Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards – 2022  
  • Integrated Reporting Framework (IRF) - 2022

All of these components have helped to develop the current IFRS S1 and S2 standards. Before the final IFRS standards were announced, they went through a rigorous due diligence process and consultation period, receiving more than 1,400 responses during the proposal stage. The work of the ISSB has received broad support internationally from policy makers, market regulators and investors.

The S1 and S2 standards are also intended to be interoperable with standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the EUs European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). It is hoped that a high level of interoperability between these standards will eliminate the need for companies to file multiple times.

S1 and S2 are also designed to allow for any additional jurisdictional requirements such as the upcoming mandatory climate reporting requirements in Australia, to be built on top of this global baseline.

It is expected that future IFRS standards will follow S1 and S2. At the IFRS Sustainability Symposium in February 2024, development of S3 and S4 standards was identified as a priority.

*Note: While the TCFD has disbanded as of 2023, many organizations still report according to TCFD recommendations. The term is likely to be in use for some time.

Looking for more help coming to grips with the IFRS standards?

The IFRS S1 and S2 standards will require a breadth of information gathering and reporting that is new to many companies. It is easy to become overwhelmed with these requirements and finding your starting point can be difficult.

Ecometrica are accredited experts in climate metrics and since 2008 and have been enabling organizations and public sectors across the globe to disclose their climate impact in accordance with the most up to date standards.

Our sustainability reporting software allows you to accurately and easily calculate your emissions. You'll be able to meet all your regulatory requirements and protect your business against risk.

Want to learn more? Follow the link below. 

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Author Laura Fitzgerald

Laura Fitzgerald is a Content Marketing Manager with EcoOnline. She has been writing about health and safety topics since 2017, with a focus on the areas of improving employee safety engagement and EHS legislation.

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