Structured Reporting Using XBRL

SASB’s Digital Strategy

SASB’s digital strategy is aligned with our core mission of establishing standards for ESG reporting that facilitate communication between companies and investors. We have developed a complete XML taxonomy that helps organizations incorporate SASB standards into their platforms and commercial activities. Asset managers and asset owners; banks; data, analytics, and research firms; and corporate reporting software companies all license SASB frameworks and data.


SASB plans to fully support XBRL to make digital reporting easy for issuers and data aggregation & analytics easy for investors. SASB has been proactive in developing an XBRL version of our taxonomy.

In 2020, SASB announced our engagement with PwC to support in the development of a SASB XBRL taxonomy. As a result of this engagement, the initial draft version of the SASB XBRL taxonomy is now complete. SASB has submitted the draft taxonomy to the XBRL US Domain Steering Committee for formal review and approval. Once the review is completed, SASB will make the draft taxonomy and preparer’s guide available for public comments on our website. We anticipate the public comment period will begin in early 2021.

SASB recently held a webinar with XBRL US which discusses the SASB Standards and our vision for structured reporting using XBRL, including a demonstration of SASB’s XBRL taxonomy and panel discussions about how the process of preparing, extracting, and analyzing machine-readable ESG data will work in practice.

History of SASB’s XBRL Efforts

In 2014, we convened a large multi-stakeholder task force consisting of investment organizations, data aggregators, technology tool providers, accounting organizations, and public policy experts to help us develop the right XBRL strategy. This group examined the compatibility of SASB Standards with XBRL; assessed key technical, economic, legal, operational, and scheduling factors; and identify other issues and opportunities. The task force concluded that the SASB Standards lend themselves to structured data using XBRL that is both consistent and compatible with the financial reporting currently mandated by the SEC.

In 2016, based on the recommendation from the task force, we completed a XBRL pilot. We successfully piloted a SASB XBRL taxonomy for two of our industry standards in partnership with a leading XBRL technology provider. The results of the pilot were reviewed by issuers, investor tool providers, accounting organizations, data aggregators. The feedback has been very positive.

In 2019, SASB renewed its efforts to identify the best path forward for XBRL-based structured sustainability reporting using SASB metrics. SASB has conducted a review of the reporting landscape, including surveying market participants. SASB assessed options for building out a taxonomy that reflects the Standards and looked into related infrastructure and partnerships necessary to facilitate reporting and usage of XBRL sustainability data. We worked with market participants and regulatory bodies to get current perspectives on the project.

To learn more about SASB’s work with XBRL and structured reporting, or to get involved, please contact [email protected].