Industry-based disclosures on the ESG issues most relevant to financial performance and enterprise value
The Importance of SASB Industry Based Disclosures
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards focus on a subset of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that are financially material to enterprise value across 77 industries. These 77 industry-specific standards were designed with the objective to enable companies to readily focus reporting on the sustainability and climate issues that only impact their industry, while also offering to investors and stakeholders a framework for comparability across companies within any of the 77 specific industries. Companies that fall outside of the 77 industry standards are also encouraged to disclose through the SASB general standard.
Unlike some other ESG disclosure systems, SASB reporting’s focus on financial impact can be a positive step towards facilitating ongoing communications between companies and investors. SASB reporting also does not preclude companies from the additional reporting of ESG data through other frameworks such as GRI, TCFD and CDP.
SASB is now part of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)
In 2022, SASB officially merged to be managed under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation’s International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). This merger solidifies SASB’s importance as the globally recognized go-to standards system for comprehensive and comparable industry-based reporting standards.
During COP 26 in Glasgow, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation was given a mandate to address the international business community’s urgent demand for transparent financial-related sustainability disclosures by companies. The IFRS Foundation formed the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), which sits alongside the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the global framework that most national level financial accounting regulations are built from.
Similarly, with financially related sustainability disclosures, it is conceived that the ISSB will provide the global framework for country-level regulatory development. This is already occurring in Europe with the Corporate Sustainability Disclosure Standard and in other national jurisdictions.
Currently, ISSB recognizes the SASB industry-based standards and will seek further alignment in a future SASB revision process, which will seek to merge SASB metrics into one consolidated system from which national standards may align. SASB remains a voluntary standard today and its use ensures a company is staying ahead of regulatory headwinds.
While the process of standards revision and mergers can be confusing, one message is clear: SASB provides the clearest path to bridge the gap from voluntary to regulatory disclosures.
How SCS Helps to Carry Out a Comprehensive SASB Reporting Process
SCS Consulting offers a comprehensive SASB Reporting service that helps organizations meet the requirements of the SASB Standards and provides accurate, comparable, and high-quality information. Our multi-step process includes:
- Determine the specific SASB industry standards that may apply to your company based on your industry and determine the level of reporting necessary to showcase your ESG efforts.
- Provide an initial materiality assessment to determine which reporting categories are material to your organization based on your industry type.
- Manage your company’s SASB alignment to other ESG reporting frameworks utilized, such as GRI, TCFD, ISSB, or alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- Map your current sustainability goals and initiatives to SASB standards and requirements.
- Identify the sustainability KPIs and metrics necessary for SASB reporting and uncover data management gaps and opportunities.
- Develop the content index to support disclosures and client navigation.
- Develop ‘assurance ready’ environmental, social and economic report content that is verifiable and can successfully showcase your company’s ESG accomplishments.
- Communicate your sustainability accomplishments with stakeholders, investors, and the public.
- Leverage reporting outcomes to inform further development of your ESG strategy and set corporate priorities and science based targets.
Materiality and SASB Reporting
SASB makes it relatively easy for companies within specific industries to clearly understand what is financially material to their organization and what requires reporting as part of a SASB disclosure. SASB provides a "Materiality Map" that showcases all the areas of materiality for the 17 industries it covers. By utilizing the map, SCS Consulting helps each organization better understand what is considered financially material to its industry and how best to collect the data necessary for reporting.
As requirements expand towards double materiality, which is looking at issues from both a ‘financially-material’ perspective (as is done under SASB,) as well as the impacts a company has on society and the environment (as is done under GRI ), we incorporate the SASB materiality map results into a more comprehensive double materiality assessment (see our materiality assessment page for more information). By providing an initial materiality assessment, we are able to help your organization focus specifically on the areas that need to be addressed in your ESG report and how best to showcase the ESG accomplishments your organization has achieved in the last year.