What are the SASB Standards? A Comprehensive Overview for Businesses

The SASB Standards, developed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, are industry-specific guidelines designed to streamline and standardize business sustainability reporting. These standards focus on identifying and disclosing the sustainability issues most relevant to investor decision-making within the 77 industries. By establishing a common language and framework for reporting on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, the SASB Standards aim to improve the transparency and comparability of corporate disclosures, thus enabling better decision-making among investors and stakeholders.

One significant aspect of the SASB Standards is their alignment with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the newly established International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). This collaboration ensures a coherent and integrated approach towards sustainability disclosure, promoting global consistency in ESG reporting practices. Moreover, implementing SASB Standards brings valuable insights and benefits to companies by helping them identify material risks and opportunities, enhance long-term value creation, and address the growing regulatory influence on sustainability-related matters.

Key Takeaways

  • The SASB Standards are industry-specific guidelines aimed at standardizing sustainability reporting.
  • Aligning with IFRS and ISSB, SASB Standards promote global consistency and comparability in ESG disclosures.
  • Implementing SASB Standards enhances long-term value, addresses regulatory influence, and improves decision-making for investors and stakeholders.

SASB Standards Overview

The SASB Standards are a set of sustainability-related guidelines designed to help companies in various industries identify and disclose the most relevant information for investors. These standards aim to improve the effectiveness and comparability of corporate sustainability reporting, ultimately assisting investor decision-making processes.

SASB’s standard-setting process is thorough, transparent, and evidence-based. It includes extensive research and an inclusive approach encouraging participation from various companies, investors, and subject-matter experts. This approach ensures that the issues identified as most relevant to each of the 77 industries covered by the standards are genuinely significant and aligned with stakeholder expectations.

Within the SASB Standards, risks and opportunities associated with sustainability are organized into several broad categories, such as environment, social information, and operational governance. Examples of active governance topics include Supply Chain Management, Systemic Risk Management, and Business Ethics. This comprehensive framework helps companies prioritize and focus their sustainability disclosure efforts, leading to more meaningful and comparable reports.

In conclusion, the SASB Standards are critical in promoting consistent, reliable, and decision-useful sustainability reporting. Identifying the most material sustainability-related risks and opportunities for each industry, these standards help companies align their disclosure efforts with investor expectations and contribute to a more resilient, sustainable, and transparent capital market.

The Role of SASB Standards

The SASB Standards provide investors and companies with a framework for identifying, managing, and disclosing sustainability-related business information. These standards focus on industry-specific issues that are likely to have a material impact on an organization’s financial performance and ability to create long-term value.

Investors use SASB Standards to assess companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, helping them make more informed decisions about their portfolio allocations. By incorporating ESG criteria into their investment strategy, investors can identify opportunities and mitigate risks related to a company’s sustainability performance.

Implementing the SASB Standards enables companies to provide stakeholders with clear, consistent, and relevant information. This, in turn, helps enhance market efficiency and reduces information asymmetry between companies and investors. By disclosing their ESG performance in line with SASB Standards, companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable business practices and attract capital from sustainability-focused investors.

The SASB Standards play an essential role in the first two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, namely, IFRS S1 General Requirements for Sustainability-related Disclosures and IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures. Applying SASB Standards provides a solid foundation for companies to adopt and comply with the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.

In summary, the SASB Standards promote transparency and accountability in the business environment, foster trust between companies and investors, and support responsible capital allocation towards sustainable growth.

Industry-specific SASB Standards

The SASB Standards are industry-specific guidelines designed to help companies identify and report on sustainability-related issues most relevant to their financial performance and investor decision-making. These standards provide a framework for companies to effectively communicate with investors about the sustainability factors most likely to have a material impact on their industry.

SASB Standards for 77 industries are tailored to address the unique sustainability challenges and opportunities within that specific industry. The industry-based approach taken by SASB allows for a more relevant and targeted form of sustainability reporting, making it easier for investors to assess and compare the performance of companies within the same sector.

They are developing industry-specific standards that involve evidence-based research and collaboration from various stakeholders, including companies, investors, and subject-matter experts. This rigorous and transparent methodology ensures that the standards remain relevant, reliable, and valuable for all parties involved in the investment decision-making.

Companies that choose to implement SASB Standards in their reporting can benefit from a more focused approach, as they are only required to report on the sustainability factors that are most relevant and material to their industry. This can lead to greater efficiency and accuracy in reporting, ultimately providing investors with a clearer understanding of the company’s sustainability performance and risk exposure.

In summary, the Industry-specific SASB Standards provide a valuable tool for companies and investors, enabling more effective communication and assessment of sustainability-related risks and opportunities within each industry. By adopting these standards, companies can demonstrate a commitment to transparency and responsible business practices. At the same time, investors gain a deeper understanding of the sustainability factors that may impact their investment decisions.

What is the SASB Framework and Disclosure?

The SASB Standards in the SASB framework are essential in providing a framework for companies to report industry-specific sustainability disclosures in a standardized, cost-effective, and reliable manner. These standards are integral in helping organizations identify sustainability-related risks, opportunities, and other relevant information that must be disclosed.

Disclosing sustainability information is vital in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, as it offers an in-depth insight into a company’s long-term performance and overall impact on stakeholders. The transparency gained through these disclosures can help improve the trust and confidence of investors, customers, and other stakeholders, making it increasingly necessary for organizations to adopt efficient disclosure approaches.

To implement the SASB Standards in the disclosure process, companies can follow an eight-step guide that encompasses understanding the standards, assessing the company’s readiness, and developing adequate disclosures. Engaging shareholders and other stakeholders throughout the process is crucial in obtaining valuable feedback, leading to continuous improvement in the company’s disclosure practices over time.

The SASB Standards have proven effective in supporting the newly established IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards: IFRS S1 General Requirements for Sustainability-related Disclosures and IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures. The synergy between these standards ensures that sustainability disclosure becomes integral to global financial reporting practices, bringing consistency and comparability among organizations across various industries.

In conclusion, adopting SASB Standards facilitates reliable and cost-effective sustainability disclosures, helping organizations better communicate their long-term strategies and impacts to investors and stakeholders. By following best practices in implementing these standards, companies can ensure clarity, consistency, and credibility in their sustainability communication, strengthening their market position and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Connection with IFRS and ISSB

The SASB Standards serve as an essential foundation for sustainability disclosure and reporting. They have a strong relationship with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the IFRS Foundation. The ISSB is committed to building on the industry-based SASB Standards and embedding SASB’s industry-based approach to standards development.

In May 2023, the ISSB published the Exposure Draft Methodology for Enhancing the International Applicability of the SASB Standards and SASB Standards Taxonomy Updates. This project aims to ensure companies can use SASB Standards to advance their disclosure under IFRS S1, regardless of location or operating footprint. The ISSB encourages companies and investors to continue supporting and using the SASB Standards until the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards replace them.

As part of the IFRS Foundation, the ISSB’s mission is to develop a comprehensive global corporate sustainability reporting framework, including IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards. This framework will draw upon existing sustainability standards, including the SASB Standards, and consolidate them under the IFRS Foundation’s governance.

The ISSB’s work on enhancing the international applicability of the SASB Standards helps align these standards with the IFRS Foundation’s broader vision. This collaboration between SASB, ISSB, and the IFRS Foundation aims to promote greater consistency, comparability, and efficiency in sustainability reporting, ultimately leading to more informed decision-making by companies and investors.

Implementation of SASB Standards

The SASB Standards are a set of industry-specific frameworks designed to help companies identify, manage, and report on sustainability factors most likely to have a material impact on their financial condition and operating performance. The primary objective of these standards is to enable effective communication between companies and investors regarding critical sustainability-related information.

Implementing the SASB Standards involves integrating them into a company’s reporting processes. The first step in this process is understanding the specific SASB Standards applicable to a particular industry. This ensures that the relevant sustainability factors are addressed and that the information provided is accurate and consistent with industry norms.

Once the applicable standards are identified, a company should gather and analyze evidence-based research to provide accurate and comprehensive data on its sustainability performance. This involves engaging stakeholders, such as investors, customers, and regulators, to understand their expectations and concerns.

The next step in the implementation process is incorporating the SASB Standards into the company’s existing reporting framework. Integrating the identified sustainability factors with the financial reporting systems and processes entails. Companies can leverage various tools and resources, such as the SASB Implementation Primer, to help facilitate this integration process. The primer is a reference guide for companies embarking on their SASB reporting journey and provides practical insights on effectively implementing the standards.

In addition to incorporating the standards in their reporting process, companies should ensure that their internal controls and governance structures are aligned with the SASB framework. This requires evaluating the current governance structure, assessing its effectiveness in managing sustainability risks and opportunities, and making the necessary adjustments to align with the SASB standards.

By effectively implementing the SASB Standards, companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and effectively communicate their performance to investors and other stakeholders. This helps enhance transparency, foster trust, and improve decision-making within and across industries.

The Insights and Benefits of SASB Standards

The SASB Standards provide valuable insights for companies by identifying sustainability disclosure topics relevant to each of the 77 industries. These standards offer a focused approach, with mainly quantitative metrics that capture performance on each case, allowing companies to be transparent in their disclosures and address sustainability risks effectively 1.

One of the core benefits of the SASB Standards is that they facilitate transparency and comparability among companies reporting on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. This enables investors to make informed decisions by evaluating companies’ performance on various sustainability-related factors. 2.

By adhering to the SASB Standards, companies can integrate ESG factors into their strategies and risk management processes. This helps them discover potential risks and opportunities from their sustainability practices, enhancing their overall performance and creating long-term value. 3.

In addition, the SASB Standards act as a valuable input for companies’ internal deliberations on materiality assessments and enterprise risk management. By following these standards, companies can better communicate with investors and ensure their processes align with investor expectations on sustainability-related disclosures. 4.


  1. https://kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insights/2023/08/ifrs-blog-sasb-standards.html

  2. https://esg.conservice.com/breakdown-of-sasb-framework-and-benefits/

  3. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/accounting-for-values-and-valuation

  4. https://help.sasb.org/hc/en-us/sections/360011204771-Using-the-SASB-Standards

SASB Standards and Regulatory Influence

The Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) developed the SASB Standards to provide organizations with a framework for industry-based disclosures on sustainability-related risks and opportunities. These standards aim to facilitate communication about factors that could reasonably affect an entity’s cash flows, access to finance, or cost of capital in the short, medium, or long term.

By addressing the specific sustainability issues relevant across industries, the SASB Standards complement the regulatory efforts of agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The SEC focuses on protecting investors and maintaining fair and efficient markets, while the EPA strives to protect human health and the environment.

Adopting the SASB Standards demonstrates a commitment to transparent reporting and regulatory compliance. Organizations adhering to these standards provide investors and stakeholders with valuable insights into sustainability performance, which can influence decision-making processes.

To implement SASB Standards, companies must first identify their industry or industries using the Sustainable Industry Classification System® (SICS®). They must then review the relevant industry standards and determine which disclosure topics apply to their activities. The evidence-based approach by the SASB Standards Board ensures that the financial impacts of sustainability issues are identified and reported with accuracy.

In conclusion, the SASB Standards are crucial in supporting regulatory efforts by the SEC and the EPA. These standards help organizations meet their regulatory obligations and provide valuable information to investors and stakeholders by facilitating transparent reporting on sustainability-related risks and opportunities.

SASB and Other Reporting Frameworks

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards are industry-specific guidelines for companies to disclose financial material sustainability information. These standards aim to help businesses identify, manage, and report on ESG factors relevant to their industry and investors 1.

SASB Standards coexist with reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and integrated reporting. Each framework serves a unique purpose, and organizations often choose to apply them based on the needs of their stakeholders and the objectives of their sustainability reporting 2.

The GRI Standards provide a comprehensive and flexible framework for reporting on various sustainability topics, including economic, environmental, social, and governance issues. While the GRI is more encompassing, SASB Standards focus specifically on the financially material aspects of sustainability, which are most likely to impact a company’s financial condition or operating performance 2.

The TCFD, on the other hand, focuses on climate-related risks and opportunities that can have financial implications for a company. While SASB Standards cover a variety of ESG factors, including climate-related issues, the TCFD provides detailed guidance on disclosing the impacts of climate change on an organization’s strategy, risk management, and financial performance. 3.

Integrated reporting is an approach that aims to combine financial and non-financial information in a single, concise report. SASB Standards can support integrated reporting by providing industry-specific metrics and disclosures focusing on financially material ESG factors. This helps companies create a more comprehensive view of their value-creation process and enables investors to make better-informed decisions. 4.

In summary, SASB Standards complement other reporting frameworks, such as GRI, TCFD, and integrated reporting, by providing a focused set of guidelines for disclosing material sustainability information. Companies can combine these frameworks to meet their stakeholders’ diverse needs and effectively communicate ESG performance.


  1. https://sasb.org/about/sasb-and-other-esg-frameworks/

  2. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sustainability-reporting-frameworks-standards-protocols-complete 2

  3. https://help.sasb.org/hc/en-us/articles/360052003772-How-do-the-SASB-Standards-fit-in-with-other-disclosure-frameworks-and-standards-

  4. https://sasb.org/implementation-primer/understanding-sasb-standards/

Challenges of SASB Standards

The SASB Standards, developed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), aim to provide industry-based disclosures about sustainability-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably impact an entity’s cash flows, access to finance, or cost of capital over the short, medium, or long term. However, specific challenges are associated with implementing and using these standards.

One challenge is the potential difficulty in identifying material sustainability topics specific to each industry. While the SASB Standards are designed to offer industry-based guidance, companies still need to determine which factors apply to their particular operations and could materially impact their financial performance. As environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns evolve, businesses must stay informed and adapt their reporting practices accordingly.

Another challenge is the varying levels of sustainability reporting experience among companies. Those new to ESG reporting may find navigating and incorporating the SASB Standards into their existing reporting frameworks challenging. Additionally, adopting these standards requires significant resources to gather and analyze relevant information, which some companies might find burdensome.

Moreover, with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) working on integrating SASB Standards into its future IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, there is a sense of uncertainty as to how these standards will evolve. Companies and investors may hesitate to adopt these standards until the ISSB establishes a more definitive path.

In conclusion, while the SASB Standards offer valuable insights into industry-specific sustainability risks and opportunities, companies may face challenges in identifying material factors, integrating the standards into their reporting frameworks, and adapting to potential changes as the sustainability reporting landscape evolves.

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