SASB developed its Provisional Standards for 79 industries from 2012 to 2016. In 2017, SASB released an update to the Provisional Standards, known as the Exposure Draft of the Standards. The complete set of Standards will be released (or codified) in mid-2018.
SASB Sustainability Accounting Standards are comprised of (1) disclosure guidance and (2) accounting standards on sustainability topics for use by U.S. and foreign public companies in their annual filings (Form 10-K or 20-F) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). To the extent relevant, SASB Standards may also be applicable to other periodic mandatory filings with the SEC, such as the Form 10-Q, Form S-1, and Form 8-K.
SASB Standards identify sustainability topics at an industry level which may constitute material information—depending on a company’s specific operating context—for a company within that industry. SASB Standards are intended to provide guidance to company management, which is ultimately responsible for determining which information is material and should therefore be included in its Form 10-K or 20-F and other periodic SEC filings as appropriate.
SASB Standards provide companies with standardized sustainability metrics designed to communicate performance on sustainability topics. When making disclosure on sustainability topics, companies can use SASB Standards to help ensure that disclosure is standardized, decision-useful, relevant, comparable, and complete.
SASB Standards are intended to provide the basis for “suitable criteria,” defined by AT 101.23 -. 321 as having the following attributes:
- Objectivity—Criteria should be free from bias.
- Measurability—Criteria should permit reasonably consistent measurements, qualitative or quantitative, of subject matter.
- Completeness—Criteria should be sufficiently complete so that those relevant factors that would alter a conclusion about subject matter are not omitted.
- Relevance—Criteria should be relevant to the subject matter.