Changing the World One Sector at a Time with SASB

The official launch of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), in October 2012, marked the recognition that our rapidly evolving world needs new tools to provide investors a complete picture of a company’s performance – specifically pertaining to the management of opportunities and risks associated with environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

SASB is a non-profit organization that is developing industry-specific sustainability accounting standards designed for use in the mandatory filings of publicly-traded companies in the U.S., such as the Form 10-K. These standards will help companies disclose and address the material ESG issues that are relevant to their industry, while helping investors evaluate and compare the management of ESG-related risk and opportunity by companies, on a peer-to-peer basis.

To accomplish this, SASB is conducting intensive research of material ESG issues across 89 industries in ten sectors, searching for evidence of interest in ESG factors, as well as evidence of the financial impact of these issues on each industry. The initial outcome of SASB’s research is a set of “straw man” material issues and related key performance indicators (KPIs). SASB then convenes Industry Working Groups to vet these issues and KPIs.

Working group members gain first-hand access to issues SASB has identified as most material to their industry, and the ability to provide crucial feedback on whether the suggested KPIs are cost-effective and decision-useful.

Be Part of the Solution

Recruiting for SASB’s Financials Industry Working Groups (IWGs) will soon draw to a close. This is an unprecedented opportunity for seasoned professionals in investment banking, commercial banking, insurance, and consumer finance, to contribute to standards for their industries as they are being developed. SASB will also cover the Technology & Communication and Non-Renewable Resources sectors in 2013; calls for experts will be issued for both sectors later in 2013.

While the time commitment for IWG members is minimal – only four hours over a one month period –the impact is long-lasting. To learn more about the IWGs and apply to join one (there is no cost), visit: and/or email