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ESG Focus: SASB And ESG – The Movers & Shakers

ESG Focus | Feb 27 2019

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Sustainability Accountability Standards: a brief overview of organisations and companies supporting the new framework.

By Sarah Mills

The Sustainability Accountability Standards were published last October and 2019 will be the first test of their success.

While the standards are likely to meet hurdles and resistance from many corners, the Sustainability Accountability Standards Board (SASB) also has many powerful backers, and these individuals and organisations will be laying down the red carpet.

SASB is a philanthropic organisation funded by grants and donations, and aims to become self-financing in the long term through intellectual property licensing, education and training.

Its backers include Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation and read like a Who’s Who of finance and industry, with many notable exceptions.

While far from exhaustive, this article aims to list the major SASB supporters to give investors a sense of the SASB political landscape.

The SASB has established three main groups: the Standards Advisory Group (SAG) and the Investor Advisory Group (IAG) and the SASB Alliance; and there is some overlap between the groups.

At last count, SAG comprised 107 industry experts from the consumer goods, extractive minerals and processing, financials, food and beverage, healthcare, infrastructure, renewable resources and alternative investments, resource transformation, services, technology and communication and transportation sectors.

Combined assets of these companies number in the tens of trillions. The SAG members have been the primary contributors to the development of the SASB system and metrics.

At last count, the Investor Advisory Group comprises 32 leading asset owners and asset managers. The group is committed to improving the quality and comparability of sustainability related disclosures. These fund managers also represent tens of trillions of dollars of funds under management.

At last count, the SASB alliance had 49 members. The alliance is a membership program for organisations and individuals that support the SASB’s mission and values, and who are committed to developing and exploring best practices to integrate material sustainability information into existing processes.  They gain educational materials, resources and discounts.

The SASB is also supported by major ESG analysts and lawyers, and government and non-government organisations, including the G20, the European Commission, the United Nations and related financial standards boards, such as the Global Reporting Initiative and IIRC, GRESB, and a raft of industry associations associated with renewables and recycling.

Companies such as GM, Merck, Nike, Kellogg’s JetBlue, CBRE, Diageo Groupe PSA, Schneider Electric, Host Hotels and NRG Energy have already started using the SASB standards and are among the companies that will be on board for the 2019 reporting season.

Included are tables listing major supporters, from industry, to funds management, to analysts (see link top of story).

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