Frequently Asked Questions
The ISSB has committed to build on the industry-based SASB Standards and leverage the industry-based approach used to develop the SASB Standards. The ISSB also has committed to enhance the international applicability of the SASB Standards prior to the effective date of the General Requirements Exposure Draft. SASB Standards open projects were transferred to the ISSB upon transition of the SASB Standards to the IFRS Foundation. Consultation on the ISSB’s future agenda will inform a detailed delivery plan for standard-setting projects. Please visit the IFRS Foundation notifications dashboard to stay informed about the work of the ISSB.
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 represent a significant risk or opportunity; and/or
- Not necessarily include every sustainability factor that is relevant to a reporting company.
The SASB Standards Application Guidance recommends that a company disclose its rationale when it omits or modifies a SASB metric.
When choosing to include additional topics in its disclosure, a company should consider providing a narrative describing why the topic is important and reviewing other SASB industry standards in which the topic is covered to ensure performance metrics are well-aligned with those commonly in use.
For more information, see the “Understanding SASB Standards” section of the SASB Standards Implementation Primer.
SASB Standards technical staff recognize 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. The approach to climate-related disclosure in the SASB Standards is different but not in conflict with such cross-industry reporting.
The process for setting SASB Standards was 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 Scope 1 GHG emissions metric 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 (conventional or renewable), and source (self-generated or purchased) of energy. 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 the approach to GHG emissions and related topics in the SASB Standards, see the SASB Implementation Supplement: Greenhouse Gas Emissions and SASB Standards and the SASB Climate Risk Technical Bulletin.
In response to the demand from investors and businesses to simplify the global sustainability disclosure landscape, the IFRS Foundation formed the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), bringing together the Climate Disclosure Standards Board and the Value Reporting Foundation (which housed the SASB Standards and the Integrated Reporting Framework).
The ISSB’s work program will include developing a global baseline of sustainability disclosure standards (the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards) and a taxonomy to facilitate digital reporting, building upon the existing work of the consolidating organizations. The IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards will enable companies to provide comprehensive information about sustainability matters to the financial markets, emphasizing consistency and connectivity between financial statements and sustainability-related disclosures.
As the IFRS Sustainability Standards are developed, companies are directed to the industry-based SASB Standards as priority materials for identifying sustainability risks and opportunities. SASB Standards can be used to provide a baseline of investor-focused sustainability disclosure and to implement the principles-based TCFD recommendations. 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 Standards Implementation Primer. Additionally, a number of case studies and Q&As with reporting companies may provide useful insights on getting started. Finally, it may be valuable to review the disclosures of other SASB Standards reporters in your industry.