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Publicly listed companies take note: SASB Standards Important for Sustainability Reporting

July 30, 2020
Publicly listed companies take note: SASB Standards Important for Sustainability Reporting


A long-time leader in GRI-informed sustainability reporting and consulting, CSE is taking on the next hot reporting trend – SASB – the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.


Both GRI and SASB emphasize transparency.  Both are guided by materiality.  They differ on purpose.  GRI focuses on the economic, environmental and social impacts of a company, and its contributions — positive or negative — toward sustainable development.


SASB focuses on a subset of industry-specific standards highlighting sustainability-related risks and opportunities most likely to affect a company’s balance sheet, income statement, or market valuation.  This focus is of particular importance to publicly traded companies. SASB helps businesses identify, manage and report on the sustainability topics that matter most to investors.


Reporting is key, and CSE is SASB’s first training partner with a new online certificate on SASB Standards.  The online course works in conjunction with CSE’s SASB-informed gap assessment and compliance consulting services.


If you doubt the importance of SASB in sustainability reporting, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is asking companies to report based on SASB standards.  Their sustainability policy influences the C$410bn (€263bn) CPPIB invests.


The majority of companies using the SASB framework go beyond gathering for and sharing data in their sustainability reports.  SASB-driven material issues are appearing in more mainstream reporting such as corporate 10Ks and on Board of Director agendas.  The movement affects national and multi-national companies alike.  Of the 120 firms using SASB, 76 are based in the US, while 44 are overseas.


With many standards and guidance to choose from, SASB, GRI and CDP have joined in a project to map their frameworks against the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).  Companies hesitant to pick TCFD versus SASB can rest assured that SASB’s reporting is now compliant with TCFD guidelines.


To better understand how SASB affects your company and how you can use the standards to your advantage, CSE’s Sustainability Academy is offering an online certificate “SASB and TCFD: Identifying, Evaluating and Reporting on Sustainability and Climate Risk”, accepting enrollments starting August 2020.

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