SASB, a private nonprofit organization, works with other prominent private organizations seeking to advance voluntary corporate reporting and disclosure on sustainability issues, including, among others, the Global Reporting Initiative, the International Integrated Reporting Committee and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.
In November 2018, SASB published a set of detailed, industry-specific accounting standards intended to enable companies to manage, measure and report on sustainability factors that drive value and affect financial performance.7 In developing its standards, SASB identified 26 broadly relevant sustainability issues and organized them into five groups:
Environment – addresses environmental impacts, either through the use of nonrenewable, natural resources as inputs to the factors of production or through harmful releases into the environment that may result in impacts to the company’s financial condition or operating performance
Social Capital – addresses the company’s management of relationships with key outside parties, such as customers, local communities, the public and the government on issues related to human rights, local economic development, responsible business practices, customer privacy and other matters
Human Capital – addresses the company’s management of human resources as key assets to delivering long-term value on issues that affect employee productivity, labor relations, and the health and safety of employees
Business Model and Innovation – addresses the integration of environmental, human and social issues into the company’s value-creation process, including resource recovery, product innovation, and efficiency and responsibility in the design, use phase and disposal of products
Leadership and Governance – addresses the company’s management of issues that can create conflict between the business and stakeholders, and relating to regulatory compliance, risk management, safety management, supply-chain and materials sourcing, conflicts of interest, anticompetitive behavior, and corruption and bribery
SASB’s standards acknowledge that sustainability issues will have different relevance to different companies. SASB’s standards therefore are based on financial materiality and call for companies to report on “the handful of ESG and sustainability topics that most directly impact their long-term value creation.”