Standards Internationalization Advancement

Page Last Updated: October 5, 2020

Project Overview

Project Objective

The Project’s objective is to conduct research and consultation to define SASB’s standards internationalization strategy. This strategy will include a defining potential standard-setting activities designed to improve the global applicability of disclosure topics and accounting metrics.

While the scope of the Project does not include executing these specific standard-setting activities, it will comprise the foundational research that will enable subsequent standard setting to be conducted in line with the established standards globalization strategy.

Project Background

SASB’s mission is to establish and improve industry specific disclosure standards across financially material environmental, social and governance topics that facilitate communication between companies and investors about decision-useful information. SASB recognizes that capital markets operate in a global context. Many investors’ portfolios are allocated among companies domiciled or with operations in various countries around the world. At the same time, many companies have complex and geographically diversified supply chains, operations, and customer bases.

Therefore, it is the SASB’s objective to ensure that disclosure topics reflect globally relevant sustainability issues and that associated accounting metrics are relevant and decision-useful indicators that can be widely adopted by companies for their ESG reporting, regardless of the country of domicile or their geographic operating footprint. Based on a staff review, approximately one-quarter of existing SASB metrics may currently be challenging to implement in certain geographic regions. The standards globalization strategy aims to identify opportunities—including but not limited to a potential standard-setting project to revise metrics—to improve the global applicability of SASB Standards.

SASB recognizes that complexities and differences in regulatory environments, voluntarily adopted standards, industry structures, and business models across geographic regions create inherent challenges in developing globally applicable sustainability accounting standards. Nevertheless, through research and stakeholder engagement the technical staff aims to enhance the decision-usefulness of the standards’ content globally.

Project Status

Current Status

Ongoing Research

The scope of the current work includes evaluation of high-priority topics and metrics across industry standards that SASB’s research and stakeholder feedback suggest are not currently globally applicable. The expected outcome of such evaluation is establishment of a set of potential projects, which may include topic-, metric, and technical protocol-level research or standard-setting projects.

Technical staff welcomes stakeholder feedback on a list of identified questions grouped by sector, industry, disclosure topic, as well as theme. The list of questions can be obtained here.

Please review the following webinar for guidance on how you can provide feedback to SASB and additional background on the project.

Next Steps

Identification, scoping, and prioritization of standards projects

Any globalization-related revisions to the standards will be conducted per SASB’s Standard-Setting Process through discrete thematic or industry-specific projects. There are no globalization-related projects added to the Research Agenda at this point.

Completed stages

In 2019 the SASB’s team conducted assessment of global applicability of all 981 metrics in the standards. Please review the following webinar where the findings are discussed.

Contact Information

Anton Gorodniuk, CFA
Lead Analyst, Financials Sector

Published Documents & Supplemental Materials

Published Documents

There are no published documents or drafts at this time.

Supplemental Materials

Consultation Questionnaire, Excel Spreadsheet, August 2020.
Globalization Project Pipeline webinar,
video, July 2020.

Board Materials & Decisions

Board Meeting Outcomes

  • The Standards Board discussed topics related to the Standards Internationalization Advancement project during the September 2019 meeting, in the section “Global Gap Analysis” (slides 30-40).

Board Materials

September 2019

For a full list of past and upcoming Standards Board meetings, as well as associated materials, please visit our Board Meetings Calendar & Archive.

Subscribe to Project Updates

Fill out this form for project-specific notifications about calls for public feedback, advancement in project phases, and research questions.

The staff has prepared this summary for informational purposes only. Any Standards Board decisions are tentative and do not change current accounting. Official positions of SASB are determined only after extensive due process and deliberations.