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B20 India: ICAEW to advise on ESG assurance

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 11 May 2023

ICAEW is playing a key role in B20 this year, in particular as part of its ESG in Business Action Council.

ICAEW has been invited to be a network partner at this year’s B20 Summit, hosted by India, following its successful participation at B20 Indonesia last year. ICAEW will sit alongside 11 others including IFAC, OECD, UN and the Basel Institute on Governance.

Specifically, ICAEW has become a member of the ESG in Business Action Council, which held a network summit in New Delhi in March. 

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was appointed as the official secretariat for B20 India. The B20 has a mandate to represent the voice of the international business community on global economic issues, which will feed into the deliberations of several G20 meetings, including the Leaders’ Summit. 

The B20 conducts work through various task forces. Recommendations from each task force are summarised at the B20 summit, then presented to the G20 Chair for consideration well before the Leaders’ Summit.

The B20 India Secretariat will address B20 India priorities through seven task forces:

  • Inclusive GVCs for resilient global trade and investment; 
  • Future of work, skilling and mobility; 
  • Energy, climate change and resource efficiency; 
  • Digital transformation; 
  • Financing for global economic recovery;
  • Tech, innovation and R&D; and 
  • Financial inclusion for economic empowerment.

The two action councils, including the ESG in Business Council, were created with an aim to focus and deliberate on the larger structural agenda. The other action council is on African economic integration.

“The G20 can play a major role to help mobilise capital across international borders to enable social and environmental transformation,” says ICAEW’s Director, Policy, John Boulton. “Some $5-7trn of investment is needed annually to achieve the SDGs. Current investment falls far short. India alone needs $10trn to finance its net zero commitment by 2070. 

The finance is there to achieve this, says Boulton – we have $200trn in global assets – but transparency, trust and integrity needs to be built in order to unlock that finance. “It has been encouraging to see the India B20 2023, through its ESG in Business Action Council, seeking to create a lasting legacy toward these goals by recommending policy to build transparency, trust and integrity.” 

ICAEW is looking forward to continuing the long running discussion around how governments can create credibility through a commitment to independent, robust assurance and to provide a reasonable roadmap toward that goal, Boulton says. Aspects for consideration, from ICAEW’s side include legal certainty on the scope of E, S and G assurance and establishing a robust, market-recognised and internationally aligned assurance standard as the base for trusted assurance. 

“The B20 in Indonesia started the discussions around aligning assurance standards with international standard ISAE 3000 and support for the new sustainability assurance being developed by the International Audit and Assurance Standards Board. ICAEW is pleased to be participating in carrying forward this work and believes 2023 is a pivotal time in building the needed trust and credibility in this crucial information.”

ICAEW’s adviser in India, Vandana Saxena Poria OBE FCA, adds that the G20 and B20 discussions are an important part of business in India this year.

“The theme chosen is RAISE – Responsible, Accelerated, Innovative, Sustainable and Equitable Businesses. All major organisations from the Tatas to the ITC group have senior executives playing an active part in the action councils and task forces.”

There is a strong emphasis on ensuring that agendas and outcomes work for the Global South as well as the Global North, she explains. “India is taking this opportunity to showcase Indian innovation, especially digital, as a way to meet the sustainability goals. ICAEW’s role as a network partner means we’re having conversations with members and stakeholders to feed into the process to accelerate reaching the SDGs.”

ICAEW is also planning a number of events in London, in India and online to support its involvement as part of the B20. More information on these events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Visit our Sustainability and Climate Change hub

Sustainability describes a world that thrives by maintaining its capital, whether natural, economic or social. Members in practice, in business and private individuals all have a role to play if sustainability goals are to be met. The work being undertaken by ICAEW in this area is to change behaviour to drive sustainable outcomes.

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