Goethe University and ISSB want to work together intensively in future

Internationally comparable standards for corporate sustainability reporting are an important prerequisite for achieving climate and other sustainability goals worldwide. The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), which has been based in Frankfurt am Main as one of its key locations since 2022, is to receive stronger academic support from the Rhine-Main region in future. Goethe University and ISSB have set out the cornerstones of future cooperation in a Memorandum of Understanding. 

The Memorandum of Understanding links many people and institutions in the Rhine-Main region with the International Sustainability Standards Board. (Photo: Uwe Dettmar)

One or two conferences a year, networking with the relevant research institutions in the Rhine-Main region, training and further education with regard to the development and application of sustainability reporting standards – coordinated by the House of Finance (HoF) at Goethe University: these are the main objectives that Goethe University and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) agreed on today in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The document was signed on behalf of Goethe University by its President Prof. Enrico Schleiff, while Dr Erhard Schipporeit signed on behalf of the IFRS Foundation (ISSB) Frankfurt.

In particular, the House of Finance, the Sustainability & Biodiversity profile area and the Departments of Economics and Biosciences will be closely involved in the development of generally applicable ISSB standards. The Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE, the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research (ISOE), the German Accounting Standards Committee (DRSC) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research are named as associated partners. The aim of the participating institutions is to form an academic network centred around the ISSB, in which the threads for Europe, the Middle East and Africa come together. The House of Finance will assume the role of coordinator.

The conference, which takes place at least once a year at the Westend Campus of the Goethe University, is also directed at non-academic audiences, politicians, regulators, practitioners and media representatives. The aim is to discuss sustainable standards based on scientific evidence. The next conference will be held on 10 June. There will also be workshops in cooperation with the scientific community, for example involving partners from African countries.

“As a comprehensive university and with its claim to develop knowledge for development, sustainability and justice in the 21st century, Frankfurt’s Goethe University offers the ideal conditions for looking at the topic of sustainability from a multi- and interdisciplinary perspective. The MoU with the ISSB demonstrates the great attractiveness of this interdisciplinary approach, especially for research. It is therefore a contribution to the current process of developing our sustainability strategy based on our understanding of sustainability and thus part of our contribution to Frankfurt and the State of Hesse in developing knowledge and solutions for a society worth living in,” says University President Prof Enrico Schleiff.

“The cooperation with the ISSB in Frankfurt regulated in the MoU emphasises the outstanding importance that the House of Finance at Goethe University has in the academic research networks on topics of finance and monetary policy, and which can now be further expanded in the area of “sustainable finance” with numerous partners from academia. We are delighted to be making a further contribution to strengthening Frankfurt/Rhine Main as a financial centre,” emphasised Prof. Rainer Klump, Managing Director of the House of Finance.

Erhard Schipporeit (left), member of the IFRS Board of Trustees, and Prof. Rainer Klump, Managing Director of the House of Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt, sign the MoU. Hessian Finance Minister Prof. R. Alexander Lorz (in the background) is pleased about the increased networking between academia and the ISSB in Frankfurt.  (Photo: Uwe Dettmar)

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding marks another important milestone and fulfils a key action point of the German Consortium, our funding partner. Today’s event demonstrates the importance of the ISSB’s presence in Frankfurt, also in the field of academic work. The IFRS Foundation (ISSB) Frankfurt sincerely thanks the House of Finance for facilitating this Memorandum of Understanding. We are looking forward to working together to create a scientific hub and an academic platform,” emphasised Erhard Schipporeit, Member of the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation.

“The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), through its Frankfurt Office, will engage in an ongoing dialogue with the Goethe University and its partners to discuss current research on sustainability standards and future research and implementation issues. The ISSB is committed in supporting the House of Finance in building up its academic network, not only in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region, but also across the EMEA region. At its April meeting, the ISSB decided to launch new research projects on risks and opportunities associated with nature and human capital. Moving forward, the ISSB strongly welcomes stakeholders’ input, including through Goethe University into its research projects,” stressed Richard Barker, Member of the International Sustainability Standards Board.

The State of Hesse already emphasised the financial expertise in Frankfurt when it applied for the ISSB’s headquarters in Frankfurt. The state government therefore welcomes the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding between the ISSB and Goethe University: “Today’s agreement is the written basis for the targeted strengthening of cooperation between the ISSB and the academic centre of Frankfurt. This networking does not stop at Goethe University. It is important to the state government that the agreement establishes a network between scientists and institutions in the entire region and that experts for the ISSB standards are trained directly at the Frankfurt location,” explained the Hessian Minister of Finance, Prof. R. Alexander Lorz.

“Goethe University with the House of Finance conducts research on issues relevant to the capital markets and is an enrichment for Frankfurt as a financial centre. The new collaboration with the ISSB and associated institutions creates great opportunities for an intensive exchange between science, business, media, and society and looks at financial sustainability reporting from a research perspective – an important component in the future of sustainable finance,” said Hessian Minister of Science Timon Gremmels.

As part of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the Board of Trustees of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation announced the establishment of the ISSB, which began its work in Frankfurt am Main in 2022.

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