20 December 2022 (Updated 31 August 2023)

What’s the issue?

The formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) brought together the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (together, the Value Reporting Foundation) with the Climate Disclosure Standards Board under the IFRS Foundation. The ISSB is building on existing content developed by different standard setters to create a global baseline for sustainability reporting that is focused on the needs of investors, lenders and other creditors.

Industry-specific disclosures are important to investors and can drive relevant and comparable content. The SASB Standards are unique in taking an industry-based approach to investor-focused sustainability reporting across all sectors.

Industry-specific materials under IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards will support investors’ understanding of sustainability-related risks and opportunities. Companies applying the SASB Standards have a head start with identifying useful information.

What are the requirements?

In the standards1, the ISSB incorporates SASB-based content by:

  • requiring companies to consider the SASB Standards in the general standard; and
  • including industry-specific guidance aligned with the SASB Standards in the climate standard. 

Illustrative guidance accompanying the climate standard provides industry-specific disclosure topics and metrics across 11 sectors, comprising 68 industries that are aligned with the SASB Standards2. This aims to help companies disclose information specific to their industry when describing how they monitor and measure climate-related risks and opportunities.

The ISSB intends to make this illustrative guidance mandatory in the future. It is also working to internationalise SASB’s non-climate-related metrics.

What’s the impact?

The SASB Standards have a prominent role in the standards, providing some comfort for those investors supporting the use of the SASB Standards and for those companies already applying them. However, it is not mandatory for companies adopting the standards to apply the SASB Standards.

Regardless of the status of the SASB-based guidance in the climate standard, companies need to provide industry-specific disclosures.

The ISSB hopes that retaining guidance based on SASB Standards as non-mandatory illustrative examples will drive more companies to apply them. This will enable a broader range of stakeholders to provide feedback and contribute to future consultations on the detail and status of industry-specific ISSBTM materials.

Actions for management

  • Familiarise yourself with the SASB Standards for your industry as well as the Industry-based Guidance on implementing IFRS S2. 
  • Perform an impact assessment to understand where there are gaps between your current reporting and the standards.
  • Undertake a benchmarking exercise against industry peers to identify other relevant metrics to consider.

1 IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information and IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures (together 'the standards').

2 The industry-specific guidance on implementing the climate standard was created based on the SASB Standards but incorporates various changes to enhance international applicability. The SASB Standards were updated in June 2023 to reflect the changes made so that the content is consistent with the climate standard.

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