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Early Adopters Of SASB Will Reduce Disclosure Risk

Date: 18 March 2014

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13 pages, 5 Figures 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report helps Directors of Investor Relations and their colleagues in management, sustainability and reporting roles understand what SASB standards for investor-oriented non-financial disclosures mean for their industry and how they should alter their reporting strategy. Since its public launch in October 2012, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has issued its health care sector and financial services sector standards. These are two out of ten sector standards, covering 80+ industries, which SASB aims to publish by early 2016 in an effort to integrate ESG issues into mandatory SEC filings. While there are significant overlaps with other sustainability reporting standards, SASB’s approach to materiality, based on evidence of interest and financial impact, focuses on investor needs. This has been the missing link for many companies to justify increased sustainability reporting. The adoption of SASB will depend on geographic location, current reporting maturity and ambition. Verdantix identifies best practice for firms as keeping abreast of SASB’s industry-specific standards. Firms should also use SASB or GRI G4 as a framework for voluntary reporting that also informs internal data collection, in order to mitigate unexpected capital market surprises.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EARLY ADOPTERS OF SASB WILL REDUCE DISCLOSURE RISK

SASB Innovates With Its Investor-Driven Approach To Standardizing Industry Disclosure
SASB Aims For A Complete Set Of Standards By The Start Of 2016
SASB’s Investor-Focused Approach To Materiality Makes It Stand Out
SASB Is A Shortcut To Help All Firms Identify Material ESG Issues

TABLE OF FIGURES

FIGURE 1. SASB Identifies Industry-Specific Material ESG Standards
FIGURE 2. SASB’s Material ESG Issues For The Health Care Sector
FIGURE 3. Timeline of SASB Standards Release 2013-2016
FIGURE 4. The Evolving Landscape Of Sustainability Reporting
FIGURE 5. Long-Term Outcomes Of SASB’s Investor-Driven Standards

ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED

AccountAbility, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), Corporate Knights, E.ON, European Commission (EU), The F.B. Heron Foundation, FDA, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Harvard University Initiative for Responsible Investment, International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, The Rockefeller Foundation, RWE, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), US Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC)