Plastics Risks and Opportunities in Chemicals IndustryTransitioned to the ISSB
Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy, Resource Transformation
Business Model & Innovation, Risk
Effective on August 1, 2022, the Value Reporting Foundation consolidated into the IFRS Foundation. At that time, stewardship of the SASB Standards—including all active projects—passed from the SASB Standards Board to the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). The ISSB has committed to building on the SASB Standards and progressing ongoing SASB projects. Any future updates to the SASB Standards resulting from this project will be subject to ISSB due process prior to being finalized.
The information below is intended to provide interested parties with historical information regarding the status of this project at the time of the consolidation.
Standard Setting Project to consider modifying the Chemicals industry standards to incorporate risks and opportunities associated with single-use plastics and bio-alternatives.
Intensifying focus on the externalities of plastics use has contributed to an escalating regulatory environment and shifting customer demand for packaging. These risks and opportunities do not appear to be fully captured in the existing Chemicals standards, but there is reason to believe they could be deemed financially material.
The original project scope covered two industries: Chemicals and Paper & Pulp. Staff received feedback during consultations that it might be preferable to consider combining the Containers & Packaging and Pulp & Paper Standards. In the July 2021 Board meeting, the Board decided to move forward with Chemicals Industry Standard and remove Pulp & Paper Industry from the scope.
On June 2, 2022, the SASB Standards Board released recommended changes to the Chemicals Standard in connection with this project. These recommended changes, which can be accessed below under “Published Documents,” represent changes to the Standards that the SASB Standards Board would have pursued through the publication of exposure drafts, including an invitation to comment, if there were sufficient time to advance the project through the next phases of due process as outlined in the SASB Rules of Procedure.
The SASB Standards Board published these recommended changes for the ISSB’s consideration and for market participants interested in following continued efforts to improve and maintain the SASB Standards.
Transitioned to the ISSB
Published Documents & Supplemental Materials
- SASB to Explore Risks and Opportunities Related to Plastics Use, December 2019, online blog
- Briefing Document, August 2020, PDF
Board Materials & Decisions
Board Meeting Outcomes
- The board discussed the recommended changes to the Chemicals Standard, including the addition of a new disclosure topic and five associated metrics that intend to capture risks and opportunities associated with single-use plastics.
- The Board discussed two issues where further market input might improve the recommended changes:
- Whether certain recommended metrics should be based on an absolute value or a percentage)
- Whether reporting companies will be able to isolate data regarding single-used plastics in a cost-effective manner
- The recommended changes are being passed to the ISSB for further deliberation and will be subject to the ISSB’s due process.
- Staff presented an update to the Board on the development of an exposure draft and basis for conclusions for the Chemicals Standard, which included an overview of the proposed disclosure topic and four corresponding metrics, as well as a recap of research findings from two issues associated with management of single-use plastics.
- Board discussion focus on the definition of “single-use plastics,” as well as ensuring completeness of metrics. Board members specifically suggested potential ways to add further clarity to the definition.
- Staff is working towards finalization of the exposure draft and accompanying basis for conclusions in the second quarter of 2022.
- Staff presented an update to the Board on the project as it relates to both the Chemicals and Pulp & Paper Industries. The focus was on key issues where staff sought Board input to help guide next steps in the standard-setting process.
- Chemicals industry: The Board supported the staff recommendation to incorporate the management of single-use plastics and bio-alternatives into the Chemicals Industry Standard as a distinct, stand-alone topic rather than modifying the existing Product Design for Use-Phase Efficiency topic. Staff communicated its intent to proceed towards development of an exposure draft, with general support from the Board.
- Pulp & Paper: Board members expressed varying views, but generally supported the staff recommendation to form a recommendation on the merging the Pulp & Paper and Containers & Packaging Standards before proceeding to develop an exposure draft related to the issue of single-use plastics and bio-alternatives.
- The Board approved a standard-setting project to consider modifying the Chemicals and Pulp & Paper Products standards to incorporate risks and opportunities associated with single-use plastics and bio-alternatives.
- The intent of the project is to evaluate adding a topic and supporting metrics that reflect an issuer’s ability to manage risks and identify opportunities associated with the changing landscape around single-use plastics.
- The current stage of the project is expected to result in presentation of an Exposure Draft of proposed changes for public comment.
- The Board discussed a new research project on Plastics Risks and Opportunities in Pulp & Paper Products and Chemicals Industries.
- The intent of this research will be to assess investor interest in risks and opportunities associated with plastics use in the two industries.
- The project will result in a staff recommendation on whether to proceed to standard-setting.
For a full list of past and upcoming Standards Board meetings, as well as associated materials, please visit our Board Meetings Calendar & Archive.
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.