We critically examine the call for ‘harmonisation’ of sustainability reporting frameworks and standards that occurred alongside an increase in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We identify three myths that have been promulgated in calls for ‘harmonisation’ that seek to: simplify sustainability reporting and ESG analysis and shift the control for standard-setting to an investor-oriented private sector body. We argue that the myths are based on deception, misunderstandings, and disregard for both academic research and the views of sustainability practitioners. They demonstrate a lack of regard for different users of corporate sustainability information, a lack of analysis of the alternatives, an overestimation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation’s expertise and mischaracterisation of sustainable/ESG financing.
Adams, C., & Abhayawansa, S. (2022). Connecting the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and calls for ‘harmonisation’ of sustainability reporting. Critical Perspectives On Accounting, 82, Article 102309. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2021.102309