SASB Standards connect business and investors on the financial impacts of sustainability.
SASB Standards guide the disclosure of financially material sustainability information by companies to their investors. Available for 77 industries, the Standards identify the subset of environmental, social, and governance issues most relevant to financial performance in each industry.
Effective August 1, 2022, the Value Reporting Foundation–home to the SASB Standards–consolidated into the IFRS Foundation, which established the first International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). SASB Standards are now under the oversight of the ISSB. The ISSB will build upon the SASB Standards and embed SASB’s industry-based standards development approach into the ISSB’s standards development process. The ISSB actively encourages preparers and investors to continue to provide full support for and to use the SASB Standards until the SASB Standards become the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure 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 impact the financial condition, operating performance, and enterprise value of companies. 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 enterprise value.
SASB was founded as a nonprofit organization 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 Integrated Thinking Principles, the 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 organization, 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.