Role of Auditors in IFRS S1 and S2

by Eduyush Team

The Role of Auditors in IFRS S1 and S2: Ensuring Transparency and Reliability

Auditors are integral to the successful implementation of IFRS S1 and S2. Their responsibilities extend beyond traditional financial auditing to verify sustainability disclosures, assess risk management practices, and provide assurance on the reported information. Here is a detailed look at the various roles auditors play

With the rise of sustainability reporting, auditors face a significant challenge- to ensure the accuracy and completeness of sustainability-related financial disclosures. IFRS S1 and S2 have set high standards for these disclosures, requiring auditors to not only adapt but also expand their traditional audit practices to cover new areas of expertise.

Verification of Sustainability Disclosures

One of the primary roles of auditors under IFRS S1 and S2 is to verify the accuracy and completeness of sustainability disclosures. This involves:

  • Data Verification: Auditors examine the data provided by the company to ensure it is accurate and reliable. This includes checking the sources of data, the methods used for data collection, and the consistency of the data over time.
  • Compliance Checks: Auditors verify that the disclosures comply with the specific requirements of IFRS S1 and S2. This includes ensuring that all required information is provided and that it is presented in accordance with the standards.

Enhancing Reliability Through Assurance

1. Comprehensive Understanding of Standards

Auditors must deeply understand IFRS S1 and S2 to assess whether companies effectively comply with the requirements. This involves not only knowledge of the standards themselves but also an awareness of the broader sustainability context and the specific risks and opportunities the audited entities face.


  • Simnett, R., & Huggins, A. L. (2023). "Auditing Challenges in Sustainability Reporting: A Focus on IFRS S1 and S2." Journal of International Accounting Research, 22(1), 45–67.

2. Integrated Reporting and Assurance

With IFRS S1 and S2 promoting the integration of sustainability and financial reporting, auditors play a crucial role in ensuring these reports are coherent and consistent. This involves verifying that sustainability data aligns with financial statements and that both sets of information present a unified picture of the company’s performance and strategy.


  • Eccles, R. G., & Krzus, M. P. (2022). "Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy." Harvard Business Review, 100(4), 34-47.

Addressing Data Quality and Materiality

3. Evaluating Data Collection Processes

Auditors need to evaluate the robustness of companies' data collection processes for gathering sustainability-related information. This includes assessing the reliability of data sources, the effectiveness of internal controls, and the accuracy of data reporting systems.


  • Cho, C. H., & Patten, D. M. (2022). "Data Quality in Sustainability Reporting: Challenges and Opportunities." Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 35(8), 1123-1142.

4. Assessing Materiality

Determining Materiality in the context of sustainability disclosures can be complex. Auditors must help companies identify which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are material to their business and ensure that these are adequately disclosed in accordance with IFRS S1 and S2.


  • Jones, M. J., & Solomon, J. F. (2021). "Materiality in Sustainability Reporting: Current Practice and Future Directions." Journal of Cleaner Production, 317, 128723.

Enhancing Transparency and Stakeholder Trust

5. Providing Independent Assurance

Independent assurance enhances the credibility of sustainability reports. Auditors provide stakeholders with confidence that the reported information is accurate and reliable. This independent verification is essential for building trust with investors, regulators, and the public.


  • O'Dwyer, B., & Owen, D. (2021). "The Role of Assurance in Enhancing the Credibility of Sustainability Reporting." Accounting, Organizations and Society, 93, 101315.

6. Communicating Findings and Recommendations

Auditors must communicate their findings and recommendations to the company's management and board. This includes highlighting areas of improvement, potential risks, and best practices to enhance future sustainability reporting.


  • Simnett, R., & Huggins, A. L. (2023). "Auditing Challenges in Sustainability Reporting: A Focus on IFRS S1 and S2." Journal of International Accounting Research, 22(1), 45-67.

Best Practices for Auditors in IFRS S1 and S2

To effectively fulfil their roles under IFRS S1 and S2, auditors should adopt best practices, including:

  • Continuous Learning and Development: Auditors should stay updated with the latest developments in sustainability reporting and the specific requirements of IFRS S1 and S2. This includes participating in training programs, attending industry conferences, and engaging with professional bodies.
  • Collaboration with Stakeholders: Auditors should engage with various stakeholders, including the company’s management, regulators, and investors, to understand their information needs and expectations. This helps auditors provide more relevant and valuable assurance services.
  • Use of Advanced Technologies: Auditors should leverage advanced technologies, such as data analytics and artificial intelligence, to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of their audits. These technologies can help auditors analyze large volumes of data, identify anomalies, and provide more robust assurance.

Challenges Faced by Auditors in IFRS S1 and IFRS S2

Auditors face several challenges in the implementation of IFRS S1 and S2, including:

  • Complexity of Sustainability Data: Sustainability data can be complex and less standardized than traditional financial data. Auditors must develop new skills and techniques to audit this data effectively.
  • Evolving Regulatory Landscape: The regulatory landscape for sustainability reporting is constantly evolving. Auditors must stay updated with the latest regulations and ensure their audit practices comply.
  • Resource Constraints: Auditing sustainability disclosures can be resource-intensive, requiring significant time and expertise. Auditors must manage these resource constraints while maintaining the quality and rigour of their audits.

Impact on Corporate Governance

The involvement of auditors in IFRS S1 and S2 has significant implications for corporate governance. By assuring sustainability disclosures, auditors help enhance the transparency and accountability of the company’s governance practices. This, in turn, strengthens the trust of stakeholders and supports better decision-making at the board level.

Training and Competency Development for Auditors

To effectively audit sustainability disclosures, auditors need to develop specific competencies related to sustainability reporting. This includes:

  • Understanding Sustainability Issues: Auditors should thoroughly understand the critical sustainability issues relevant to the company’s industry and operations. This includes knowledge of environmental, social, and governance factors and their impact on the company’s performance.
  • Technical Skills: Auditors should develop technical skills related to data analysis, risk assessment, and assurance reporting. This includes proficiency in using advanced data analytics tools and techniques.
  • Communication Skills: Auditors should be able to communicate their findings effectively to various stakeholders, including the company’s management, regulators, and investors. This requires strong written and verbal communication skills.

Future Trends in Auditing Sustainability Disclosures

The field of auditing sustainability disclosures is evolving rapidly, with several trends shaping its future, including:

  • Increased Use of Technology: Advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, are expected to increase sustainability auditing. These technologies can enhance the accuracy, efficiency, and transparency of audits.
  • Greater Stakeholder Engagement: Auditors will likely engage more closely with various stakeholders to understand their information needs and provide more relevant assurance services.
  • Enhanced Reporting Standards: The development of more detailed and comprehensive reporting standards for sustainability disclosures is expected to continue. Auditors must stay updated with these standards and adapt their audit practices accordingly.

    Resources for Auditors to Learn More About IFRS S1 and S2

    Auditors seeking to deepen their understanding of IFRS S1 and S2 and improve their sustainability reporting skills can leverage various resources. Here are some key resources that provide comprehensive information, training, and guidance on these standards:

    IFRS Foundation Website

    • Description: The official IFRS Foundation website offers a wealth of resources, including the full text of IFRS S1 and S2, educational materials, webinars, and updates on the standards.
    • LinkIFRS Foundation

    International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)

    • Description: IAASB guides auditing standards and assurance practices, which are crucial for auditing sustainability reports. They offer publications, practice notes, and other resources.
    • LinkIAASB

    Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

    • Description: GRI standards are widely used for sustainability reporting. Their guidelines and sector-specific standards can complement IFRS S1 and S2 reporting requirements.
    • LinkGlobal Reporting Initiative

    Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

    • Description: SASB provides industry-specific standards for sustainability reporting that can help auditors understand the material sustainability issues relevant to different industries.
    • LinkSASB

    Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

    • Description: TCFD offers recommendations on climate-related financial disclosures, which align closely with IFRS S2. Their resources include implementation guides and case studies.
    • LinkTCFD

    Books and Academic Journals

    • Description: Numerous books and academic journals focus on sustainability reporting and assurance. Key journals include the Journal of Corporate FinanceAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, and Journal of International Accounting Research.
    • Example Titles:
      • "Sustainability Accounting and Integrated Reporting" by Charl de Villiers and Warren Maroun.
      • "The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Accounting" by Jan Bebbington, Carlos Larrinaga, and Brendan O’Dwyer.

    Professional Certifications

    • Description: Obtaining certifications such as the Certified Sustainability Professional (CSP) or the ESG Certification from AICPA can provide in-depth knowledge and skills in sustainability reporting and assurance.
    • Link:

    Closing comments

    Auditors and companies should invest in training and resources to fully understand and implement IFRS S1 and S2. To stay ahead in the dynamic field of sustainability reporting, consider pursuing specialized certifications and leveraging advanced technologies.

    Further reading:

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    IFRS S1 and S2. Questions? Answers.

    Materiality in IFRS S1 is defined similarly to IFRS Accounting Standards, focusing on information that could influence the economic decisions of primary users. It requires companies to assess which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are material to their business and disclose relevant information accordingly.

    IFRS S2 requires companies to use scenario analysis to assess their resilience to climate-related changes. This involves evaluating various climate scenarios, including a 2°C or lower scenario, to understand potential impacts on their business strategy and financial performance.

    IFRS S1 and S2 are expected to harmonize global sustainability reporting, providing a consistent framework that enhances comparability and reliability of sustainability-related financial information. This will enable investors and stakeholders worldwide to make more informed decisions.

    Unlike previous standards, IFRS S1 and S2 provide a comprehensive, globally consistent framework specifically designed to integrate sustainability and financial reporting. They emphasize materiality, comparability, and the use of scenario analysis, setting a higher bar for transparency and accountability.

    Case studies include companies like Unilever and Shell, which have integrated sustainability disclosures into their financial reporting. They have adopted robust data management systems, clear governance structures, and comprehensive scenario analyses to comply with IFRS S1 and S2 requirements.

    Companies should ensure that sustainability disclosures are consistent with the financial data presented in their traditional financial statements. This involves aligning assumptions, estimates, and methodologies used in both reports. Disclosures should also explain the connections between sustainability-related risks and opportunities and their financial implications.

    Best practices include selecting relevant and diverse scenarios, involving key stakeholders in the process, using a mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis, and regularly updating the scenarios to reflect new data and insights. It's also important to document the methodology and assumptions used for transparency.

    Effective stakeholder engagement involves identifying key stakeholders, understanding their information needs, involving them early in the reporting process, and maintaining ongoing dialogue. Companies should use feedback to refine their reporting and ensure it meets stakeholder expectations.

    Companies can omit commercially sensitive information if its disclosure would seriously prejudice the economic benefits they could realize. However, they must provide sufficient context to explain why the information is sensitive and ensure that non-disclosure does not obscure material risks and opportunities