Dear SASB Stakeholders,
Four years ago, SASB embarked upon an ambitious task. We promised the markets that by March 2016 we would issue sustainability accounting standards for all major industries of the economy, for use by companies and their investors.
Last week, this promise came to fruition. We issued provisional standards for Infrastructure, marking the completion of a full set of provisional standards for 79 industries in 10 sectors.
This achievement is possible because of people like you. More than 2,800 individuals participated in SASB’s industry working groups, providing expert input to ensure the standards are cost-effective for companies and decision-useful for investors. In these working groups, 82 percent of issuers and investors agreed that SASB’s disclosure topics are likely to constitute material information, and thus warrant a standard for disclosure in mandatory filings.
The development of the provisional standards is an important step. For the first time, we can begin to see patterns of material ESG risk and exposure across an equities portfolio. For the first time, we have standards that can characterise the nature of that risk and enable investors to understand and price it.
Tomorrow, we’ll announce SASB’s next phase of standards development: a period of deep consultation to get feedback on the standards’ decision-usefulness and cost-effectiveness. As part of this process, we’ll open a 90-day public comment period on our proposed process for codifying and maintaining the standards.
We’ve asked for your involvement before, and we’re asking for your involvement again. SASB’s approach to setting standards is for the market, by the market. As such, your voice plays a critical role. Submit a comment on our proposed codification process. Meet with our dedicated sector analysts to provide feedback on the provisional standards. Don’t miss your opportunity to help shape the future of sustainability accounting as the standards become codified.
For the sake of their continued efficiency, stability, and resiliency, our markets need standards for the disclosure of material sustainability information to investors. Our companies need to reduce their burden of disclosure and focus on measuring and managing what matters. Because of your involvement, SASB is meeting these needs. Our progress is your progress. Thank you for your continued participation in our work.
Jean Rogers, PhD
CEO & Founder, SASB