Informative Guide to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

May 23, 2024
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Sustainability Accounting Standards Board | Report Yak Blog

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is a big name in sustainability reporting. It was created to help companies and investors make good sustainability disclosures. SASB plays a big part in reaching sustainable development goals. It sets standards for reporting on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. SASB works with groups like the IFRS Foundation and the International Sustainability Standards Board to make sure these disclosures are clear and useful.

SASB standards are easy to understand and use. They help companies report on their sustainability efforts better. This makes it easier for investors to see what companies are doing for sustainability. In this article, we will look at what SASB is, why it started, and how it works. We will also talk about the benefits of SASB. We'll cover its sustainability dimensions. We will explain the link between ISSB and SASB and discuss the idea of materiality in SASB standards. Finally, we'll see how SASB standards are different from other ESG frameworks.

SASB | Report Yak Blog

What is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)?

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is a non-profit organization. Founded in 2011, its purpose was to develop and maintain sustainability accounting standards. These standards help companies disclose sustainability-related information that is essential for investors. The SASB focuses on providing a clear reporting framework for sustainability disclosures across different industries. It covers environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

SASB standards cover 77 different industries. They recognize that sustainability challenges are different across sectors. For example, data security is very important for tech companies. On the other hand, water management is crucial for beverage producers. Using these standards helps companies share their sustainability efforts clearly and comparably. This is very useful for companies and investors. Especially since they need good metrics to measure sustainability performance.

In August 2022, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) under the IFRS Foundation took control of the SASB standards. This change aims to create a global standard for sustainability disclosures called IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards. These standards help identify sustainability-related risks and opportunities. They make the information consistent and useful for investors.

Key SASB Standards | Report Yak Blog

Listing down Key SASB Standards

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has developed a comprehensive set of standards to help companies report on sustainability issues relevant to their industries. These standards are industry-specific, recognizing that sustainability challenges differ across sectors. Here are some of the key SASB standards:


Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals: This standard focuses on issues like drug safety, clinical trial transparency, and access to medicine. Companies must report on how they manage these aspects to ensure public health and trust.

Medical Equipment & Supplies: This standard covers the lifecycle impacts of medical devices. This includes product quality, safety, and regulatory compliance. Companies need to disclose their efforts to minimize environmental impact and ensure patient safety.


Electric Utilities & Power Generators: This standard addresses emissions, renewable energy integration, and water management. Companies report on how they are transitioning to cleaner energy sources and managing their environmental footprint.

Real Estate: This standard focuses on energy efficiency, water usage, and building safety. Real estate companies disclose their strategies for sustainable building practices and reducing operational impacts.

Technology & Communications

Software & IT Services: This standard highlights data security, user privacy, and energy-efficient data centers. Companies report on measures to protect user data and minimize the environmental impact of their operations.

Semiconductors: This standard covers supply chain management, environmental impact, and product lifecycle. Companies must disclose efforts to reduce emissions and ensure responsible sourcing of materials.

Consumer Goods

Apparel, Accessories & Footwear: This standard includes labor practices, environmental impact of materials, and waste management. Companies report on how they manage labor rights in their supply chains and reduce waste.

Household & Personal Products: This standard addresses product safety, environmental impact of ingredients, and packaging waste. Companies disclose their efforts to ensure product safety and sustainability.


Automobiles: This standard focuses on fuel efficiency, emissions, and vehicle safety. Companies must report on how they are improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions in their vehicle designs.

Airlines: This standard includes issues like carbon emissions, fuel management, and customer safety. Airlines report on their strategies to reduce carbon footprints and enhance passenger safety.


Commercial Banks: This standard covers risk management, data privacy, and responsible lending practices. Banks disclose their approaches to managing financial and operational risks, as well as their commitment to responsible lending.

Insurance: This standard focuses on climate risk management, customer privacy, and community impact. Insurance companies report on how they address climate risks and protect customer data.

The SASB standards provide investors with reliable metrics on sustainability performance. This makes it easier to compare companies within the same industry. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board offers a clear reporting framework. This helps companies and investors navigate the complex landscape of sustainability reporting. The full list of standards is available on the official SASB website.

Are the SASB Standards Mandatory?

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards are not mandatory. They were created to give companies a voluntary way to share important sustainability information consistently. Using SASB standards is up to each company. It depends on their choices, the rules they follow, and what their stakeholders want. Many companies choose to use these standards because of the growing focus on sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factors in the investment world.

SASB standards help companies with sustainability reporting by focusing on financial sustainability factors. This means companies report on issues that could affect their financial health. Investors find this information very useful for making smart decisions.

SASB standards also work well with other reporting frameworks. For example, they support the TCFD recommendations, which focus on climate-related financial risks. Many companies use SASB standards along with those from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to meet different stakeholder needs.

Although SASB standards are not required, some places suggest using them for mandatory reporting. For example, the European Commission recommends SASB as one of the frameworks to use. In the US, investor demand often leads companies to adopt SASB standards. As sustainability reporting continues to grow, SASB standards are becoming more important. They are now part of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) under the IFRS Foundation, which aims to set global rules for sustainability disclosures.

In summary, while not required, SASB standards are a helpful tool for companies to improve their sustainability reporting and meet the needs of investors and other stakeholders.

SASB Benefits | Report Yak Blog

Key Benefits of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) offers several key benefits for companies and investors involved in sustainability reporting. Here are some of the main advantages:

1. Enhanced Transparency and Consistency

SASB standards help companies provide consistent and comparable disclosures about sustainability factors. This transparency is crucial for investors who rely on accurate data to make informed decisions. By using SASB standards, companies can ensure their sustainability reporting meets the high standards required by investors and stakeholders.

2. Focus on Financial Materiality

SASB standards highlight ESG issues that are financially material. This means they focus on sustainability factors that could significantly impact a company's financial performance. By concentrating on these issues, companies can better communicate their sustainability risks and opportunities to investors.

3. Industry-Specific Standards

One unique feature of SASB standards is their industry-specific approach. SASB recognizes that sustainability issues vary across industries. For example, data security is critical for tech companies, while water management is crucial for beverage producers. This specificity ensures that the disclosed information is relevant and useful for assessing industry-specific sustainability risks.

4. Alignment with Other Frameworks

SASB standards complement other major sustainability reporting frameworks, like the TCFD recommendations and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This alignment helps companies meet various reporting requirements and cater to different stakeholder needs. Many organizations use SASB standards alongside TCFD and GRI to provide a comprehensive view of their sustainability performance.

5. Improved Investor Confidence

By providing clear and comparable sustainability data, SASB standards help build investor confidence. Investors can better understand the sustainability factors affecting a company's financial health, leading to more informed investment decisions. This is especially valuable in a market where ESG issues are increasingly influencing investment strategies.

6. Support for Regulatory Compliance

While SASB standards are not mandatory, some jurisdictions recommend using them for sustainability reporting. This can help companies prepare for potential regulatory changes and ensure their reporting practices are robust and compliant with emerging standards. For example, the European Commission includes SASB in its recommended frameworks for mandatory reporting.

7. Market-Informed and Evidence-Based

The development of SASB standards involves extensive consultation with market participants, including companies and investors. This market-informed approach ensures that the standards are relevant and effective. They are also based on rigorous evidence to identify the financial impact of sustainability issues across different industries.

In summary, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board provides a structured approach to sustainability reporting. It enhances transparency, focuses on financial materiality, and aligns with other major frameworks. These benefits make SASB standards a valuable tool for companies aiming to improve their sustainability disclosures and meet investor expectations.

SASB Materiality | Report Yak Blog

How does SASB Materiality factor in?

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) focuses on materiality to make sure companies report on sustainability issues that affect their financial performance. Materiality is important because it points out the key environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors that could impact a company's financial health. Here are some key points to note.

1. Financial Materiality

SASB standards emphasize financial materiality. This means they focus on sustainability issues that could change a company's financial condition or operations. For example, due to regulatory risks and costs, greenhouse gas emissions are financially material for an energy company.

2. Industry-Specific Standards

SASB standards are tailored to different industries because material sustainability issues vary by sector. Where supply chain management is critical for apparel companies, emissions control is crucial for automotive manufacturers. This approach ensures relevant and useful disclosures.

3. Investors' Perspective

By focusing on financially material issues, SASB standards give investors reliable and relevant information. Investors use this data to make informed decisions about the sustainability risks and opportunities of their investments.

4. Integration with ISSB

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) builds on SASB standards to create a global baseline for sustainability disclosures. This integration helps create a consistent framework for sustainability reporting. It makes it easier for companies to provide clear and comparable information.

5. Comprehensive Reporting Framework

The SASB's focus on materiality helps companies highlight the most critical sustainability factors. This structured approach enables effective communication of sustainability efforts. It also enhances transparency and comparability for investors and other stakeholders.

By focusing on materiality, the SASB helps companies identify and disclose the most important sustainability issues. This ensures that the information provided is relevant, reliable, and useful for decision-making.

SASB Materiality Map | Report Yak Blog

Decoding the SASB Materiality Map

The SASB Materiality Map is a tool created by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) to help companies identify which sustainability issues are most relevant to their industry. It displays how 26 different sustainability issues affect 77 industries. This helps companies determine which issues are financially material, meaning they have a significant impact on a company’s financial condition or performance.

Key Features of the SASB Materiality Map


The map is tailored to different industries. It recognizes that not all sustainability issues matter equally across sectors. For instance, data security is critical for tech companies, while water management is more crucial for beverage producers. This specificity ensures that the disclosed information is relevant and useful.

Five Main Dimensions

The sustainability issues are categorized into five main dimensions:

1. Environment: Covers topics like greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, and waste management.

2. Social Capital: Focuses on customer privacy, data security, and community relations.

3. Human Capital: Includes employee well-being, labor practices, and diversity.

4. Business Model and Innovation: Looks at product design, lifecycle management, and business adaptability.

5. Leadership and Governance: Involves board governance, business ethics, and sustainability oversight.

Financial Materiality

The map helps companies focus on issues that are financially material. This means the issues could significantly impact a company's financial health. By identifying these issues, companies can better manage risks and seize opportunities related to sustainability.

Investor Use

The map is particularly useful for investors. It provides them with consistent and comparable data, helping them make informed decisions about the sustainability risks and opportunities in their investments.

Guidance for Reporting

The Materiality Map assists companies in their sustainability reporting by highlighting the most critical issues. This structured approach helps ensure transparency and comparability in the information provided to stakeholders.

Overall, the SASB Materiality Map is a vital tool for companies looking to enhance their sustainability disclosures. It helps them focus on the most relevant issues, ensuring that their reports are both meaningful and useful to investors and other stakeholders.​

SASB Dimensions | Report Yak Blog

The SASB Sustainability Dimensions explained

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) organizes sustainability topics into five key dimensions. Each dimension covers various aspects of a company’s operations and impacts. Here are the SASB Sustainability Dimensions:

1. Environment

This dimension focuses on how a company's actions affect the natural environment. The topics include greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, energy use, water and wastewater management, waste handling, and ecological impacts. By managing these issues, companies can reduce their environmental footprint and promote long-term sustainability.

2. Social Capital

This dimension looks at the relationships and networks a company has with its stakeholders. It covers customer privacy, data security, product quality and safety, and community relations. Strong social capital helps companies build trust and maintain good relationships with customers, communities, and other stakeholders.

3. Human Capital

Human capital focuses on the workforce. It includes employee well-being, productivity, and job satisfaction. This dimension addresses health and safety protocols, labor practices, employee benefits, and diversity and inclusion efforts. A supportive and healthy work environment enhances employee engagement and performance.

4. Business Model and Innovation

This dimension evaluates how a company innovates and adapts to market changes and sustainability challenges. It includes product design, lifecycle management, supply chain resilience, and business model adaptability. Companies excelling in this area can create long-term shareholder value by staying competitive and responsive to sustainability risks and opportunities.

5. Leadership and Governance

This dimension examines the governance structures and ethical practices within a company. It includes board governance, executive compensation, business ethics, and the oversight of sustainability strategies. Effective leadership and governance integrate sustainability factors into the company’s strategy and operations, helping to manage risks and seize opportunities.

These dimensions, defined by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, provide a comprehensive framework for sustainability reporting. They help companies focus on financially material sustainability issues and create a structured approach to disclose relevant sustainability factors. SASB standards enable companies to communicate their sustainability efforts effectively, ensuring transparency and comparability for investors and other stakeholders.

Link between ISSB and SASB | Report Yak Blog

The Link between the ISSB and the SASB

The link between the ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is very important. Especially in the changing sustainability disclosure landscape. The ISSB, created by the IFRS Foundation, aims to develop a global baseline for sustainability disclosures. This global baseline includes the industry-specific standards developed by SASB. This integration creates a consistent framework for sustainability reporting. It helps companies provide complete and comparable sustainability information.

The ISSB builds on the SASB standards. These standards are known for focusing on financially material sustainability issues. Companies that consider the SASB standards are better prepared to meet the ISSB's requirements. This is because SASB standards align with the ISSB's goals of giving useful information to investors. This alignment ensures that sustainability disclosures are relevant and comparable across different industries. It also improves the quality of financial reporting standards.

The SASB standards are now maintained and enhanced by the ISSB. This partnership helps make the sustainability disclosure process smoother. It ensures that companies can communicate their sustainability efforts while following a globally accepted framework. The ISSB uses SASB's industry-specific insights. This provides a strong foundation for reporting on sustainability factors that affect financial performance.

Overall, integrating SASB into the ISSB framework is a major step towards unifying sustainability reporting standards. It helps companies navigate the complex sustainability disclosure landscape with a consistent and reliable approach.

Sustainability Reports | Report Yak

Choose Report Yak for Comprehensive Sustainability Report Design

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) provides a crucial framework for companies aiming to enhance their sustainability disclosures. SASB's focus on financially material issues, industry-specific standards, and investor needs makes it a valuable tool for generating relevant and comparable ESG data. By aligning with SASB standards, companies can ensure their sustainability reports are comprehensive, consistent, and useful for stakeholders.

For those looking to create exceptional sustainability reports, Report Yak is the best report design agency. We specialize in annual reports, sustainability reports, ESG reports, integrated reports, and other corporate documents. Our expertise has earned us awards at the LACP Spotlight Awards for our work with multinational organizations in India. We also work with clients located abroad so don't let the distance deter you. Visit our Showcase and Services pages on the Report Yak website for more details.

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Information Sources


SASB Wikipedia



IBM - United States