In November 2023, the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development in conjunction with the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) hosted a four-part virtual lecture series that delved into the importance of new climate standards for business, with a particular focus on the African continent.
In 2021 during COP26 in Glasgow, the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation announced the formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), following strong market demand for its establishment. The ISSB is developing climate standards that will result in a high-quality, comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures focused on the needs of investors and the financial markets.
Led by Lucrezia Reichlin, London Business School Professor of Economics and IFRS board member, and experts from the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the series focussed on four key areas:
- Climate and key obstacles for capital inflows in Africa
- Reporting standards and why they matter
- A deep-dive into new climate standards
- Sustainability and reporting in context
This lecture series is a unique opportunity to learn more about climate standards, their practical applications in business and their potential to help tackle climate change. It follows on from The Wheeler Institute for Business and Development’s ‘Towards net zero’ series, in which Lucrezia Reichlin and Emmanuel Faber, Chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), made the case for high quality, globally comparable sustainability reporting.
Session 1: Climate and key obstacles for capital inflows in Africa
Thursday 23 November, 13.00 – 14.00 GMT
Lucrezia Reichlin is joined by Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, ISSB member and former Group Chief Sustainability and Governance Officer of Dangote Industries Limited, the largest conglomerate in West Africa, and the one of the largest on the African continent. They introduce sustainability factors as a mainstream part of modern investment decision-making, along with transition planning, theories of change and obstacles for capital inflows with reference to African business.
Session 2: Reporting standards and why they matter
Friday 24 November, 13.00 – 14.00 GMT
Lucrezia Reichlin and Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien discuss the nature and necessity of new climate standards in a market saturated by voluntary, sustainability-related standards and requirements that add cost, complexity and risk to both companies and investors.
Session 3: A deep-dive into new climate standards
Monday 27 November, 16.00 – 17.00
ISSB board member Richard Barker illustrates the ISSB standards, explaining their intricacies, development, and unique outcomes. He discusses ISSB’s four key objectives: to develop standards for a global baseline of sustainability disclosures; to meet the information needs of investors; to enable companies to provide comprehensive sustainability information to global capital markets; and to facilitate interoperability with disclosures that are jurisdiction-specific and/or aimed at broader stakeholder groups.
Session 4: Sustainability and reporting in context
Tuesday 28 November, 16.00 – 17.00
In the final session of the series, Lucrezia Reichlin and Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien are joined by African capital market participants and a range of African preparers and regulators. Together, they debate ‘sustainability and reporting in context’, looking to the projected impact of new models on the sustainable future of African business. The panellists are:
Vice President of Sustainability and Reporting at Sasol
Tinuade T. Awe
Chief Executive Officer of NGX Regulation Limited
Chief Corporate Services Officer at MTN Nigeria
Director of Standards and Technical Services at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya
Dr. Rabiu Olowo
Public Finance Leader and Professor of Practice in Forensic Accounting, Finance and Public Policy at the Africa Academy for Counter-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Studies
Dr. Suresh P. Kana
Former Chairman of the Financial Reporting Standards Council, South Africa
Director of Commercial Law and Policy at the Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa
About the teaching team
Lucrezia Reichlin is Professor of Economics at London Business School, a trustee of the Centre of European Policy Research (CEPR) and of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). As an IFRS trustee, she led the work for the establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). Professor Reichlin is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Econometric Society and Honorary International Fellow of the American Economic Association. She was also Director General of Research at the European Central Bank (ECB) from 2005 to 2008 and co-founded Now-Casting Economics in 2011.
Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien is a full-time member of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). Her career has focused on building connections between business and sustainable development, working across multinational and indigenous companies, public institutions and civil society organisations—in Africa and Europe—to initiate sustainable development initiatives. She served as the inaugural Group Chief Sustainability and Governance Officer of Dangote Industries Limited — the largest conglomerate in West Africa, and the one of the largest on the African continent. In this role, she was responsible for developing the company’s sustainability culture, strategy and reporting across 14 countries.
Richard Barker is a full-time member of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). Before joining the ISSB, he served as deputy dean and professor of accounting at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK. In this capacity, he led Oxford Saïd’s sustainable business initiatives. He has published a wide range of academic research papers on accounting and sustainability disclosures. He has chaired the expert panel of Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) and served as a member of the UK Corporate Reporting Council (UK accounting standard-setter), the Financial Reporting Advisory Board and the European Accounting Association’s Accounting Standards Committee.