Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

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Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
FoundedJuly 2011
FounderJean Rogers
FocusSustainability accounting standards

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is a nonprofit organization that sets financial reporting standards.[1] SASB was founded in 2011 to develop and disseminate sustainability accounting standards. While the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has for the past forty years developed the accounting principles currently used in the financial statements in the United States, other social and environmental measures are now understood to be of relevance. The SASB aims to establish industry-specific disclosure standards across environmental, social, and governance topics that facilitate communication between companies and investors about financially material, decision useful information.[2] The general principle is, in Peter Drucker's phrase, "what gets measured gets managed".[3] Over the last few years, the SASB has shifted its strategy to focus increasingly on corporate adoption by means of the private sector. As of mid 2019, 113 unique corporations have reported with SASB standards since late 2017, of which, over one third are based outside the United States.

SASB appointed Robert K. Steel as its Chair of the Board of Directors in 2018 replacing former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg who had served from 2014-2018.[4][5] Mary Schapiro, former SEC Chair, is the Vice Chair of the Board.[6]


SASB was founded in July 2011 by Jean Rogers, who originated the concept[7] and served as the organization’s first CEO.[8][9] Its primary aim was to develop standards for use in corporate filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reflects the concept first presented in the academic paper "From Transparency to Performance: Industry-Based Sustainability Reporting on Key Issues", written by Rogers, Steve Lydenberg, and David Wood in 2010.[10] The intention was to provide investors with greater information about the stocks they or their investment funds were investing in, and to allow investors and financial analysts to compare performance on critical social and environmental issues within an industry.[11]

The structure of the organization and the name SASB was selected in order to complement the work of the FASB. The founding chair of the SASB was Robert Eccles.[12] Initial funding for the organization came from private donors.[10] In 2017 the organization underwent a governance change to establish a governance board and a technical board, called the standards board, in order to better align its structure with traditional financial standards setting organizations such as FASB and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) .[13] Rogers was appointed the first Chair of the SASB.[14]

Industry specific[edit]

The SASB aims to meet the need for industry-specific reporting standards, to ease comparison and benchmarking.[15][16] In order to address this shortcoming, the SASB developed the Sustainable Industry Classification System® (SICS®)[17] covering eleven sectors and 77 industries. SICS® groups companies into industries based on shared sustainability risks and opportunities. In essence, the taxonomy is based on industries' sustainability profiles. In November 2018, the SASB published a complete set of 77 industry standards at the London Stock Exchange.[18] Key performance indicators will then be updated annually.[15][19] The SASB identifies financially material issues, which are the issues that are reasonably likely to impact the financial condition or operating performance of a company and therefore are most important to investors. Ultimately, companies decide what is financially material and what information should be disclosed, taking legal requirements into account.[20]

SASB Investor Advisory Group (IAG) Members[edit]

Investors increasingly acknowledge that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can impact a company’s ability to manage risk and deliver financial performance over the long-term. As such, many investors use ESG information to develop a comprehensive view of company performance and to help evaluate a company’s long-term value. Investors can play an important role in enhancing disclosure effectiveness by expecting companies to disclose performance on material ESG factors and by participating in the development of disclosure standards. Accordingly, SASB has created an Investor Advisory Group (IAG). The IAG comprises leading asset owners and asset managers who are committed to improving the quality and comparability of sustainability-related disclosure to investors, and represent a combined total in excess of 33 trillion USD Assets under Management (AUM).

The following entities are the founding members of SASB's IAG:


The SASB is funded by grants and donations, and self-financing through intellectual property licensing, education and training.[21][22] Backers include Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Governance". Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  3. ^ Crooks, Ed (17 June 2012). "Calls for corporate disclosure of social impact". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  4. ^ "SASB Foundation Appoints Robert Steel to Chair of the Board, former Chair Michael Bloomberg becomes Chair Emeritus". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Apr 26, 2018.
  5. ^ "Foundation Board". Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  6. ^ Wenzel, Else. "Finance powerhouses Michael Bloomberg and Mary Schapiro to lead SASB".
  7. ^
  8. ^ O'Riordan, Linda; Zmuda, Piotr; Heinemann, Stefan (14 April 2015). "New Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility: Locating the Missing Link". Springer. p. 269 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Eccles, Robert G.; Krzus, Michael P. (17 November 2014). "The Integrated Reporting Movement: Meaning, Momentum, Motives, and Materiality". John Wiley & Sons. p. 73 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ a b Herz, Robert (12 September 2016). "More Accounting Changes: Financial Reporting through the Age of Crisis and Globalization". Emerald Group Publishing. p. 394 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ "The Environment and the Bottom Line". 31 March 2015 – via
  12. ^ Gleeson-White, Jane (25 February 2015). "Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet?: Rethinking Capitalism for the Twenty-First Century". W. W. Norton & Company. p. 115 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "Responsible Investor - Members Only".
  14. ^ Clancy, Heather (14 December 2017). "Why 2018 could be a breakthrough year for SASB". GreenBiz.
  15. ^ a b c Scott, Mike (24 June 2012). "US companies urged to put natural capital in accounts". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  16. ^ Eccles, Robert G. (et al.) (2012). "The Need for Sector-Specific Materiality and Sustainability Reporting Standards" (PDF). Journal of Applied Corporate Finance. Wiley-Blackwell/Morgan Stanley. 24 (2): 8–14.
  17. ^ "SICS® Proposal 4.04.2016" (PDF). SASB. 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  18. ^ "SASB codifies sustainability accounting standards". Accounting Today. 2018-11-07. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  19. ^ "The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board" (PDF). SASB.
  20. ^ "Materiality Map". Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  21. ^ "SASB - FAQ" (PDF). SASB. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Donors". Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Retrieved 2019-11-17.

External links[edit]