SASB Standards connect business and investors on the financial effects of sustainability.
SASB Standards help companies disclose relevant sustainability information to their investors. Available for 77 industries, the SASB Standards identify the sustainability-related risks and opportunities most likely to affect an entity’s cash flows, access to finance and cost of capital over the short, medium or long term and the disclosure topics and metrics that are most likely to be useful to investors.
As of August 2022, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) of the IFRS Foundation assumed responsibility for the SASB Standards. The ISSB has committed to maintain, enhance and evolve the SASB Standards and encourages preparers and investors to continue to use the SASB Standards.
What’s unique about SASB Standards?
The evolution of SASB Standards
For decades, financial accounting standards provided a common language for companies and investors to talk about financial performance. However, traditional accounting was developed in a world where tangible assets comprised most of the market valuation of companies.
In today’s economy, sustainability issues are global business issues that affect the entity’s cash flows, access to finance and cost of capital. Data security—a social issue—is important to companies in the software industry. Water management—an environmental issue—is essential to a beverage producer. Managing conflicts of interest—a governance issue—is critical for an investment bank. Effectively managing these issues over the long-term is likely to improve business performance in the form of reduced operating costs, enhanced reputation, greater resilience to risks, the potential for competitive advantage and increased long-term financial performance.
SASB was founded as a nonprofit organisation in 2011 to help businesses and investors develop a common language about the financial impacts of sustainability. Over the years, the corporate sustainability disclosure landscape became very complex. Many global businesses and investors called for simplification and clarity in this landscape. In response, in November 2020 the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) announced their intention to merge into the Value Reporting Foundation, which was officially formed in June 2021. By integrating two entities that were focused on enterprise value creation, the merger signaled significant progress towards simplification.
The Value Reporting Foundation offered a comprehensive suite of resources—including the Integrated Thinking Principles, Integrated Reporting Framework and SASB Standards—designed to help businesses and investors develop a shared understanding of enterprise value. The Value Reporting Foundation Board of Directors oversaw the strategy, finances and operations of the entire organisation, and appointed the members of the SASB Standards Board. The SASB Standards Board was an independent board that was accountable for the due process, outcomes and ratification of the SASB Standards.
In November 2021, the IFRS Foundation announced its plans to establish the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to develop a comprehensive global baseline of high-quality sustainability disclosure standards to meet investors’ information needs. The IFRS Foundation also announced plans to consolidate with the Value Reporting Foundation and the Carbon Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB). The VRF officially consolidated into the IFRS Foundation on August 1, 2022.
The ISSB builds on and consolidates the work of market-led investor-focused reporting initiatives, including:
- SASB Standards
- Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations
- Integrated Reporting Framework
- Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) Framework
The ISSB develops IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards designed to meet investor information needs and enable companies to communicate decision-useful information efficiently to global capital markets.
Learn how the use of SASB Standards positions companies well for applying IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.