OASIS Open: the Best Suite of Standards for ESG Data Reporting and Compliance

By Francis Beland, Executive Director, OASIS Open

The role of audit and assurance in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is crucial for enhancing the credibility, reliability, and accuracy of ESG disclosures. As investors, regulators, and other stakeholders increasingly rely on ESG information to make informed decisions, the demand for high-quality, verifiable ESG data grows.

Auditors and assurance providers play a key role in verifying ESG reports, ensuring they meet established standards and guidelines, and providing stakeholders with confidence in the reported information. Integrating OASIS Open standards such as UBL, OData, ebXML or STIX/TAXII can significantly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of audit and assurance processes in ESG reporting.

Enhanced Data Exchange and Interoperability

  • UBL and ebXML facilitate standardized electronic business document exchange.
  • AS4, a standard for secure document exchange, ensures that ESG data and reports transmitted between entities are done securely and reliably.

Secure Data Access and Authentication

  • SAML can be used to secure access to ESG reporting and data systems, ensuring that only authorized individuals and entities can view or modify sensitive ESG data.

Standardization of Codes and Terms

  • Genericode and Code List Representation standards help in defining and using standardized codes and terminologies in ESG reporting.

Efficient Data Querying and Management

  • OData facilitates simple and standardized queries for data, including ESG information stored across different databases and systems.
  • BDXR standards can be used to discover and connect with ESG reporting entities and systems, streamlining the process of obtaining necessary reports and data for auditing purposes.

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing

  • STIX/TAXII standards for cybersecurity threat information sharing can help auditors and assurance providers stay informed about potential cyber threats to ESG reporting systems.

Blockchain-based Verification

  • The Baseline Protocol offers a framework for establishing verifiable, consistent records of ESG data and transactions on public blockchains without exposing sensitive information.

By leveraging these OASIS Open standards, auditors and assurance providers can ensure that ESG reporting is not only consistent and reliable but also meets the high standards of data security, integrity, and accessibility demanded by stakeholders. These technologies enable more efficient audit processes, reduce the risk of errors, and increase the overall trust in ESG reporting.