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What Faber did next: The ISSB’s chair on the challenge of shaping new ESG standards

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Photo: Getty

Since its establishment at the COP26 conference in 2021, the International Sustainability Standards Board has been busy drafting its first standards. Now they are out for consultation, but ISSB chair Emmanuel Faber is already looking beyond them and to the organization’s broader mission.

What Emmanuel Faber likes about climbing mountains is how it forces him to find his own way. Well-trodden paths are not for him; the discipline of the ascent clears his mind.

Finding his own way was what he did during seven years as chief executive of Danone, a period in which he positioned the firm as an environmental, social and governance (ESG) champion. His reward for that was to be pushed out in March 2021 by activist shareholders unhappy at what they saw as disappointing financial performance – a move that catalyzed a fierce debate in France and further afield on the extent to which financial and social objectives could be compatible.

Faber has certainly needed clarity of thought in his latest challenge. He is now the chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), a body that sits within the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and which was established at the COP26 climate conference in 2021 to create a global baseline of sustainability standards.

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Mark Baker is Deputy Editor. Prior to joining Euromoney magazine he was based in Hong Kong as managing editor, Asia, for the Capital Markets Group. He previously edited EuroWeek magazine and was also deputy editor at International Financing Review.
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