Frequently Asked Questions
The Standards are updated on an ongoing basis using a project-based model. Under this model, SASB can effectively address emerging issues with the agility to address broad themes, regulatory changes, and other trends which affect multiple sectors, while retaining its ability to execute targeted updates to individual standards. SASB applies its rigorous due process, which includes evidence-based research, broad and balanced stakeholder participation, public transparency, and independent oversight and direction from the Standards Board. Following this due process ensures that SASB appropriately balances the timeliness of updates with the need to maintain high-quality standards.
There are currently several research and standard-setting projects underway. To see active projects and subscribe to project updates, click here. For documentation of past standard-setting activities, please visit the Standard-Setting Archive. Because market input is a vital part of SASB’s standard-setting process, including a key consideration on which projects to advance, SASB is always open to market feedback on the Standards.
SASB Standards are designed to address sustainability factors that are applicable to the typical company within an industry. In some cases they may:
- Include topics that, for certain companies, may not be financially material; and/or
- Not necessarily include every sustainability factor that is financially material to a reporting company.
SASB’s Standards Application Guidance recommends that when a company omits or modifies a SASB metric, it should disclose its rationale for doing so.
When choosing to include additional topics in its disclosure, a company should consider providing a narrative describing why the topic is important; reviewing other SASB industry standards in which the topic is covered to ensure performance metrics are well-aligned with those commonly in use; and contacting the relevant SASB sector analyst to provide feedback on whether the topic should be included in the SASB Standard and why.
For more information, see the “Understanding SASB Standards” section of our Implementation Primer.
SASB recognizes that there is broad support in global capital markets for all companies—regardless of their industry—to disclose their Scope 1, Scope 2, and (where feasible) Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. SASB’s approach to climate-related disclosure is different but not in conflict with such cross-industry reporting.
SASB’s standard-setting process is designed to elicit the metrics that are most useful to companies and investors in understanding and managing the direct risks and opportunities presented by climate change and other sustainability issues. This process has identified a GHG emissions metric (i.e., Scope 1) in the 22 industries that involve significant direct emissions—because these are the industries likely to face material financial impacts specifically related to their emissions. These impacts may manifest as regulatory risks and shifts in consumer demand, which in turn affect costs and revenues.
For indirect emissions, SASB Standards capture the operational and/or strategic factors that give rise to such emissions. For the 35 industries that indirectly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions through significant use of purchased electricity (i.e., Scope 2), SASB Standards recommend metrics related to understanding the amount, type (i.e., conventional or renewable), and source (i.e., if it is self-generated or purchased) of energy. Again, SASB’s research and consultation have demonstrated that these measures highlight the direct risk-management levers available to a company—and measure how the company is using them—and therefore provide actionable data to management and decision-useful information to investors.
For industries that indirectly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions upstream (e.g., from purchased materials processing and transportation), downstream (e.g., from distribution and use of products), or in other ways (e.g., from employee commuting and business travel)—in other words, Scope 3 emissions—SASB Standards recommend metrics directly related to performance in those areas, where they are financially material.
For more information on SASB’s approach to GHG emissions and related topics, see the SASB Implementation Supplement: Greenhouse Gas Emissions and SASB Standards and the SASB Climate Risk Technical Bulletin.
Five framework and standard-setting organizations—CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC and SASB—have put forth a shared vision for a comprehensive corporate reporting system and a commitment to collaborate to achieve it. The joint statement presents common language and visuals to describe how existing sustainability standards and frameworks can complement generally accepted financial accounting principles (Financial GAAP) and can fit together to form the basis for a coherent and comprehensive corporate reporting system. Read more about the joint statement and its significance.
As outlined in the joint statement, these five frameworks and standards offer complementary approaches. However, each framework and standard is designed for a unique set of stakeholders and objectives. In our view, companies can use different frameworks and standards to develop a system of disclosure tailored to the unique needs of their stakeholders.
Companies can use SASB Standards to provide a baseline of investor-focused sustainability disclosure. For example, SASB Standards can be used by companies as a practical tool for implementing the principles-based framework recommended by the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Similarly, SASB Standards enable robust implementation of the Integrated Reporting () framework, providing the comparability sought by investors. Other sustainability-related disclosure frameworks serve their own unique purposes, and ultimately, companies must evaluate and decide which meet the needs of their key stakeholders.
A good place to start is reviewing the SASB Standard(s) for your industry (or industries), the SASB Standards Application Guidance, and the SASB Implementation Primer. Additionally, SASB has provided a number of case studies and Q&As with reporting companies that may provide useful insights on getting started. Finally, it may be valuable to review the disclosures of other SASB reporters in your industry.