Standard Setting

SASB identifies sustainability disclosure topics that are reasonably likely to significantly impact the financial condition, operating performance, or risk profile of the typical company in each of 77 industries. Therefore, SASB Standards are a useful tool to guide company disclosure of sustainability information that a company has determined to be material to its business. Although different disclosure frameworks and standards have adopted a range of definitions of “materiality” focused on different users and objectives, SASB Standards are designed to facilitate the disclosure of the subset of sustainability information most likely to impact financial performance and long-term enterprise value. SASB Standards are designed to be used in communication to investors. See our Conceptual Framework for more information.

SASB welcomes market feedback through unsolicited input, formal consultations, comment periods for active projects, and advisory and working groups. Feedback collected through these channels may target the existing Standards or highlight emerging sustainability issues that should be considered in future updates to the Standards. For information on how to engage visit the Provide Feedback page.

Staying apprised of SASB’s standard-setting activities can provide insight into how and when to engage with SASB’s technical staff most effectively. SASB transparently provides stakeholders with a view into the Standards Board’s agenda, activities, deliberations, and decisions, the organization’s active projects, and other standards-related updates.

  • Standards Board meetings - Join Standards Board meetings to hear board discussions about research efforts and be informed about key board decisions.
  • Project-specific updates - Visit a project page and click “subscribe to project updates” to receive alerts that will inform you of the project progress, current research phase, and feedback requested.
  • Standards-related updates Complete the form and subscribe to Standards-related updates for highlights of our standard-setting activities.

The Standards are updated on an ongoing basis using a project-based model. Under this model, SASB can effectively address emerging issues with the agility to address broad themes, regulatory changes, and other trends which affect multiple sectors, while retaining its ability to execute targeted updates to individual standards. SASB applies its rigorous due process, which includes evidence-based research, broad and balanced stakeholder participation, public transparency, and independent oversight and direction from the Standards Board. Following this due process ensures that SASB appropriately balances the timeliness of updates with the need to maintain high-quality standards. 

There are currently several research and standard-setting projects underway. To see active projects and subscribe to project updates, click here. For documentation of past standard-setting activities, please visit the Standard-Setting Archive. Because market input is a vital part of SASB’s standard-setting process, including a key consideration on which projects to advance, SASB is always open to market feedback on the Standards.

SASB's approach to governance differs from a more traditional assessment of board structures, processes, and shareholder rights. Because many of these traditional governance topics are addressed by existing regulation—including stock exchange listing requirements and industry-based or jurisdictional principles and codes—SASB Standards instead include industry-specific performance metrics likely to serve as indicators of governance quality, such as fines and settlements, violations, accidents, etc. In this regard, SASB recognizes that while corporate governance drives value across every sector, each industry also has its own unique governance profile. For example, the governance issues most likely to have material financial implications might involve systemic risks (as in the Financials sector), operations in highly regulated markets (as in the Infrastructure sector), or challenges associated with less competitive markets (such as Telecommunications). SASB metrics for these and other issues are intended to complement—not replace—existing, well-established frameworks for reporting on traditional governance issues, such as those developed by the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), the Council of Institutional Investors (CII), and the Investor Stewardship Group.