Why create Sector Advisory Groups?
Companies have increasingly recognized that the management of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are directly related to their ability to manage risk and deliver performance over the long-term. At the same time, investors are increasingly using ESG information to develop a comprehensive view of company performance to help them evaluate a company’s long-term value.
Companies and investors can play an important role in evaluating the topics, metrics, and technical protocols included in the SASB’s industry-specific standards by providing feedback on the extent to which the content of the standards adheres to the SASB’s concepts, principles, and definitions set out in its Conceptual Framework.
Accordingly, the SASB is creating Sector Advisory Groups comprised of volunteer industry experts to advise the SASB on matters of implementation and emerging issues that should be considered in the standards development process.
Sector Advisory Group Statement
The SASB Sector Advisory Group (SAG) comprises individuals from leading companies, financial institutions, and/or third parties with industry expertise who recognize the need for consistent, comparable and reliable disclosure of material and decision-useful ESG information.
- Believe standards can improve the quality and comparability of sustainability-related information
- Believe SASB’s approach—which is industry-specific and focused on financially material data—provides investors with relevant and decision-useful information
- Provide feedback to the SASB staff on the standards development process and the implementation and use of the standards
- Encourage other stakeholders to participate in SASB’s ongoing standards development process
A call for volunteers
We are seeking individuals from leading public companies, financial institutions, and/or third parties with industry expertise who are committed to improving the quality and comparability of sustainability-related disclosure to investors. Apart from the above, here is what’s involved:
Sector Advisory Group members will benefit from having input into the SASB standards implementation process as well as a chance to shape the SASB board’s technical agenda and the standards going forward.
We encourage you to complete and submit the expression of interest form below. (Note that early signup does not guarantee a seat as a member.)
For further information, please review the SAG Charter.
These Advisory Groups are advisory in nature and recommendations are non-binding; ultimate authority to approve updates, as recommended by the SASB staff, rests with the SASB. Members of the groups will be nominated by the SASB staff and the SASB, and approved by vote of the SASB. The Sector Advisory Groups will produce a report to the SASB summarizing their recommendations and their assessment of the SASB’s incorporation of those recommendations into Exposure Drafts of the relevant Updates. Meetings of Sector Advisory Groups will be open to all interested parties, but only appointed group members can take the floor and speak at those meetings.
Q: What time commitment is required from SAG members?
A: This will be an evolving answer as the SAGs are constructed and SAG chairs determine their agendas. Preliminarily, we estimate SAG members will commit a minimum of two hours per month in addition to the quarterly SAG calls and an annual SAG meeting in NYC.
Q: Are SAG members required to serve the entire term? Must a member go through a new selection process if they changes jobs and move to a new sector?
A: SAG Members are expected to serve the entire term, as are IAG Members and Standards Board Members. SAG members are not, however, precluded from resigning their SAG membership. Members are expected to continue to serve on the SAG in the event they change jobs, as long as they remain in the same SICS sector. Changing to another SAG will require that there be a vacancy on the associated SAG, and that the member be approved by the SASB.
Q: What are the approximate dates for quarterly phone calls/in-person meetings?
A: Call and meeting dates will be set by the Chair of each SAG, after each SAG has been seated. Prior to the start of a new calendar year, SAG chairs will set quarterly call dates.
Q: How will SAG members be selected?
A: The Director of Research will nominate SAG members to the SASB based upon recommendations from the Deputy Directors of Research, the associated Sector Analyst, and the SASB. Recommended SAG members shall be approved by vote of the SASB. Once each SAG has been seated, members will select their SAG chair, who will serve a three-year term, and shall be approved by the SASB.
Q: When will SAG members be seated?
A: The eleven SAGs will be seated on a rolling basis during Q2 and Q3, 2018. SAG membership is targeted at up to 20 members per sector, however, initial SAG membership may be lower in-order-to assure that each SAG is comprised of members who meet qualifications set forth in the SAG charter.
Q: Does being a SAG member imply agreement with the content of SASB standards?
A: No. See the Purpose section of the SAG Charter. Disagreement should, however, be specific and oriented towards a productive resolution consistent with the SASB Conceptual Framework.
Q: Does being an SAG member require the member’s company to adopt/report on SASB standards?
A: No. Reporting using SASB standards in SEC filings, financial filings, annual reports, sustainability reports or in other venues is at the discretion of issuer management regardless of SAG membership. SAG members are, however, expected to be supportive of the principles noted in the Purpose section of the SAG Charter document.
Q: Will SAG members participate as representatives of their organizations or as individuals?
A: SAG members may either participate as representatives of their organizations or as individuals. The SASB encourages those interested in SAG membership to work with their employer to obtain approval to represent their organization. In determining nominations and appointments, the SASB staff and the SASB will consider whether individuals are representing their firms and may express preference for such organizational representatives.
Q: How will SASB use the SAG members’ names publicly?
A: SAG membership will be publicly disclosed where members may represent either their organizations or themselves individually. Publication of SAG member names makes their participation transparent to all stakeholders. Members representing themselves rather than their firms will be listed as follows: John Smith, Corporation Name, representing himself.
Q: Is it possible to have multiple company or investor representatives from the same firm on a SAG?
A: The SASB will seek to include members representing organizations or providing expertise which will help improve the quality and content of the standards, including their materiality, decision-usefulness, and cost-effectiveness. SAG members will represent a mix of issuers, investors and SMEs likely to provide a diverse range of expert views across a sector, thus only a limited number of representatives from each industry is possible.
Q: Will SAG meetings be public?
A: SAG quarterly meeting minutes will be published, but meetings will not be live or recorded.
Q: Who will set the quarterly call/meeting agenda?
A: Agendas will be set by each SAG chair in consultation with the Stakeholder Outreach Manager, the associated Sector Analyst and the SASB. Agendas may be reviewed by the Deputy Directors of Research, or the Director of Research.
Q: What information will SAG members have access to?
A: SASB Sector Analysts are responsible for providing background information to the SAG (e.g. consultation summaries, PCP comments) on the relevant Standards related to SAG agendas and, when appropriate, any inputs considered in the development of the Standards to date, as well as for proposing options for resolution of the agenda item. All SAG members will be provided, as individuals, with complimentary access to the SASB Navigator. SAG members will only have access to publicly available information.
Q: How will the SAG make decisions? By consensus or majority vote?
A: SAG votes shall carry when a supermajority (3/4 of those present with a minimum of 50% of the committee total members) votes in favor of a proposal. SAG votes are non-binding as ultimate authority to approve Updates to the standards, as recommended by the SASB staff, rests with the SASB.
Q: What types of decisions will the SAG members make?
A: SAG members will focus their efforts on the following:
- Identify emerging industry sustainability issues
- Produce a report to the SASB summarizing SAG recommendations for Technical Agenda proposals.
- SAG chairs may set subcommittees and/or consider holding quarterly calls segregated by industry