SASB reporting puts companies in prime position for use of ISSB Standards

Sustainability factors are becoming a mainstream part of investment decision-making and companies are increasingly called upon to provide high-quality, globally comparable information on sustainability-related risks and opportunities.

SASB and others consolidated to help form a global baseline of sustainability disclosures

Recognising the value of existing frameworks and the market demand for streamlining, the International Sustainability Standards Board (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.

The ISSB is committed to delivering standards that are cost-effective, decision-useful and market informed. Its work is backed by the G7, the G20, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Financial Stability Board, African Finance Ministers and Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from more than 40 jurisdictions.

The first two ISSB Standards, IFRS S1, General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information (S1) and IFRS S2, Climate-related Disclosures (S2) will be issued at the end of Q2 2023 and effective for reporting periods beginning after 1 January 2024.[1]

Industry-based guidance is integral to the ISSB Standards

“Industry-based sustainability disclosure standards – because they are focused on the drivers of risk and return most relevant to business models in a given industry – both improve comparability across companies and help reduce the burden to reporting companies.”

– SASB Standards Investor Advisory Group letter to the ISSB, May 2022

Investors want both cross-industry and industry-specific disclosures because some information is needed for comparison across all industries and regardless of business model – such as governance of climate risk – while other information is more decision useful when it is industry specific.

The 77 industry-based SASB Standards provide useful, comparable information to investors and are cost-efficient for companies, as evidenced by their use in over 2,500 companies in more than 70 jurisdictions around the world, including 71% of the S&P Global 1200 Index.

Therefore, the ISSB has confirmed that industry-specific metrics will be required and, for topics beyond climate, companies will be required to consider the SASB Standards to identify sustainability-related risks and opportunities to report on, and determine the disclosures to provide.

This means that companies already applying the SASB Standards will be in a prime position to apply the first two ISSB Standards when they are issued towards the end of June 2023.

SASB Standards are a useful tool for implementation of ISSB Standards

Think of S1 as an outline: the overarching standard that applies to all sustainability-related risks and opportunities but does not specify what those risks and opportunities are. To help companies identify their sustainability-related risks and opportunities and provide appropriate disclosures using S1, companies will be required to consider the SASB Standards for topics beyond climate.

S2 will require disclosure of infographic of S1 General Requirements, Industry-specific sustainability-related topics and metrics, S2, industry-based, climate-related topics and metricsmaterial information about climate-related risks and opportunities to meet investor information needs. Used in accordance with S1, S2 will require industry-specific disclosures and include illustrative guidance for industry-specific, climate-related metrics derived from the SASB Standards.

When S1 is used in combination with S2 and other materials including the SASB Standards, companies can provide investors with the information they need about sustainability-related risks and opportunities. S1 and S2 also fully incorporate the TCFD Recommendations.

Companies applying the SASB Standards and the TCFD Recommendations will be well prepared to use S1 and S2. The ISSB will maintain and enhance the SASB Standards throughout their continued existence and actively encourages preparers and investors to continue using them on the path to adoption of ISSB Standards.

Learn more about the ISSB and the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.

Download the SASB Standards.

[1] Early adoption will be permitted but must be disclosed. Various transition reliefs will be available, including the ability for a company to report on only climate-related risks and opportunities (as set out in S2) in the first year it applies S1 and S2.