Using the SASB Standards

Providing sustainability disclosures using SASB Standards is a cost-effective way to provide decision-useful information to investors and puts companies in a prime position for implementing IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards. A good place to start is reviewing the SASB Standard(s) for your industry (or industries) and the SASB Standards Implementation Primer. Additionally, a number of case studies and Q&As with reporting companies may provide useful insights on getting started. Finally, it may be valuable to review the disclosures of other SASB Standards reporters in your industry.

For a company that operates in multiple industries, more than one industry Standard may be required to address the full array of sustainability topics reasonably likely to influence investors’ decision-making. Please consult the SASB Standards Application Guidance and "Understanding SASB Standards" within the SASB Standards Implementation Primer for further information. 

A company determines for itself which SASB Standards are relevant to its business, which disclosure topics represent significant sustainability-related risks or opportunities, and which associated metrics to report. When a company determines that a sustainability topic is relevant to its business objectives, SASB Standards offer a way to provide standardised disclosure on that topic, for the benefit of both companies and investors.

Informed by extensive investor feedback, SASB Standards Application Guidance recommends that when a company omits or modifies a SASB metric, it should disclose its rationale for doing so. Companies using the SASB Standards as part of their implementation of ISSB Standards should consider the relevant ISSB application guidance.

SASB Standards are designed to address sustainability factors that are applicable to the typical company within an industry. In some cases they may:

  • Include topics that, for certain companies, may not represent a significant risk or opportunity; and/or
  • Not necessarily include every sustainability factor that is relevant to a reporting company.

The SASB Standards Application Guidance recommends that a company disclose its rationale when it omits or modifies a SASB metric. Companies using the SASB Standards as part of their implementation of ISSB Standards should consider the relevant ISSB application guidance.

When choosing to include additional topics in its disclosure, a company should consider providing a narrative describing why the topic is important and reviewing other SASB industry standards in which the topic is covered to ensure that metrics are well-aligned with those commonly in use.

For more information, see Understanding SASB Standards.

No. Companies are responsible for determining which SASB disclosure topics represent significant risks or opportunities for their business and which associated metrics warrant disclosure, taking the company’s business model, business strategy and relevant legal requirements into account. A company can make a disclosure using the SASB Standards and, in doing so, state that it has not concluded that the information is material.

Companies using the SASB Standards as part of their implementation of ISSB Standards should consider the relevant ISSB application guidance.

As an independent standard-setter, the IFRS Foundation does not provide advisory or assurance services. We recommend that reporting companies seek the advice of professional consultants, assurance providers, and legal counsel when preparing disclosures in accordance with SASB Standards. For technical questions about how to interpret or apply the Standards, contact SASB Standards technical staff.

No. As an independent standard-setter, the IFRS Foundation does not provide advisory services. The reporting company is responsible for determining which sustainability-related issues are most likely to represent risks or opportunities and which information to disclose.

SASB Standards are designed to identify sustainability topics most likely to be considered by investors in their decision-making for the typical company within a particular industry and develop high-quality, comparable disclosures on such topics for use by investors and other providers of financial capital.

As such, SASB Standards may serve as a useful input to a company’s approach to assessing materiality, enterprise risk management or other internal deliberations that may influence communications with investors.

An integrated report is a concise communication about how an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects, in the context of its external environment, lead to the creation, preservation or erosion of value in the short, medium and long term.

SASB Standards provide the disclosure topics and metrics needed to accurately assess the effectiveness of a business’s governance, strategic planning and risk management, enabling better comparability and accountability. Likewise, the Standards enable the communication of performance on sustainability risks and opportunities in greater detail and with greater comparability.

For more information, read “Strengthening an Integrated Report Using SASB Standards” and the “Complementary Tools: Using the Integrated Reporting Framework and SASB Standards Together” paper.

Yes. The SASB Standards are used in over 3,200 companies in more than 80 jurisdictions around the world, including 75% of the S&P Global 1200 Index, because industry-based sustainability disclosures are cost-efficient for companies and decision-useful for investors. Businesses worldwide use SASB Standards to better identify, manage and communicate the material information about sustainability-related risks and opportunities they face.

Furthermore, the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards being developed by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to form the global baseline for sustainability-related disclosures build upon the SASB Standards and the TCFD Recommendations. Through IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information, the ISSB requires companies to consider the SASB Standards, in the absence of specific IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, to identify sustainability-related risks, opportunities and related information.

The ISSB has enhanced the international applicability of the SASB Standards—a targeted project to ensure any companies can use them to advance their disclosure under IFRS S1, regardless of where they are based or their operating footprint—and will continue the SASB Standards projects it inherited from the SASB Standards Board, subject to public consultation. In other words, the ISSB is not just building upon and preserving the SASB Standards, it is updating and improving them.

Companies that apply the SASB Standards now will find they are an efficient solution for disclosing sustainability information and a solid foundation for adopting IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards.

A company is best positioned to determine which Sustainable Industry Classification System® (SICS®) industry (or industries) most accurately represents its business and, therefore, which SASB Standard (or Standards) to use in making disclosures to investors. If you are unable to find your company or think the SICS® classification for your company needs to be reviewed, please contact us. The more information you provide, the more quickly we will be able to process your reclassification request.

A list of SASB reporters can be found on the Companies Reporting with SASB Standards page, where users can filter by industry, sector, country, year and more and click through to view a company’s report. If your company uses SASB Standards in communications with investors but is not listed, please contact us (select 'SASB reporter website listing' as the issue type).

Although we monitor use of SASB Standards, we do not collect reported information and do not require that companies notify us when they use the Standards. Nevertheless, we appreciate companies notifying us when they have made disclosures using the Standards and welcome their feedback. To be listed among the Companies Reporting with SASB Standards, companies must reference their use of SASB Standards in their disclosures, and preferably, use the SASB metric codes. If your company has already done so and you do not see your organisation listed within a month, please contact us (select 'SASB reporter website listing' as the issue type).

No, a company does not need to pay a fee to disclose information using SASB Standards. All 77 industry-based SASB Standards are available to download free of charge on for non-commercial use, such as disclosure to investors or for use in academic research.

Programs are available for commercial uses of the Standards, such as integrating them into investment strategies or reporting software. These fee-based programs help ensure that the businesses that benefit from the Standards help facilitate their maintenance. For more information, please see Licensing use.

Yes. The Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Credential is designed for professionals who benefit from understanding the link between material sustainability information and a company’s financial performance. The majority of test takers are professionals in investment analysis, consulting and sustainability. Find out more about the FSA community, review sample test questions, register for the exam and browse FAQs on the FSA website.