The world is quickly moving towards mandatory sustainability reporting. This marks a significant change for companies and will provide a new set of information for investors of all kinds, as well as regulators, policy makers and wider community stakeholders. Very significant effort continues to go into the alignment and comparability of the sustainability standards and disclosure rules that will be promulgated around the world.

In many markets these disclosures will be digital, meaning that they will be prepared in the Inline XBRL format. Just as it is important that the rules and standards that underpin this effort are comparable, it is vital that the technical approaches to these upcoming digital disclosures are as consistent as possible. By way of analogy, if sustainability standards are setting up the railways, deciding which stations they will visit and at what speed they will travel, the digital design aspects of this process is working together to ensure that everyone is using the same gauge rail and that tickets are online and accepted everywhere.

Since December 2021 XBRL International has been hosting regular meetings between the technical staff of the main standards setters and some of the regulators working on the digital aspects of sustainability disclosures. Called the “Digital Sustainability Disclosure Special Interest Group” (or “SIG” for short) the group has been identifying specific potential challenges or questions associated with digitisation and agreeing initial, still tentative, proposed best practices to help ensure consistency in this field around the world.

This microsite is being published on an ongoing basis by the SIG to share its findings and to help encourage discussion and debate as these issues get clarified and agreed.

We have outlined a number of challenges inherent in sustainability disclosures together with viable solutions to those challenges. The site caters at this point to three different audiences:

  • Executive: The default audience, intended to be the starting point for each challenge
  • Standards setter: Information more relevant to those involved in setting standards
  • Technical: Information more relevant to those implementing technical standards related to the challenge

Following on from the challenges, there is a collection of proposed best practices that will help parties meet those challenges.

Start by exploring the challenges from the menu above.

The SIG proposals are not part of XBRL International’s standards making or best practices activities, although we expect that these outputs will feed into that work.

The Special Interest Group has been staffed by XBRL International with dedicated funding kindly provided by the Impact Management Project, including for the initial publication of this microsite.

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XBRL International is a global not for profit operating in the public interest. Our purpose is to improve the accountability and transparency of business performance globally, by providing the open data exchange standard for business reporting.