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8 Tips for Sustainability and ESG Professionals Reporting to SASB
The non-profit Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) was founded in 2011 with the mission of “helping businesses around the world identify, manage and report on the sustainability topics that matter most to their investors.” In other words, SASB is bridging the gap between sustainability reporting and financial reporting. To accomplish this, SASB has developed 77 sets of industry-specific standards that focus on what they have determined to be the most financially material topics for each industry. According to SASB, these are “issues that are reasonably likely to impact the financial condition or operating performance of a company and therefore are most important to investors.”
Why should you report to SASB? For one thing, it’s preferred by investors. Investors want comparable, consistent, and reliable data on financially material sustainability factors, which is exactly what SASB provides. In addition, SASB’s standards are industry specific, which reduces reporting costs and minimizes noise by surfacing the most relevant information. In addition, the standards can be used with other frameworks and standards, including those provided by the TCFD and IIRC. Many companies use both SASB and GRI Standards to meet the requirements of various audiences.
So, how can sustainability and ESG professionals report to SASB? In this article, we’ll explore our top tips for reporting to SASB.
1. Gather Your Resources
Make sure you are prepared for the reporting process by getting all your ducks in a row before you dive in. This can involve engaging your network of reporting professionals, reviewing current reporting best practices, and reviewing resources from the SASB website.
2. Ensure You Have Quality Data
As we mentioned above, investors want reliable, quality data. Therefore, it is essential that you have comprehensive, correct sustainability data at your fingertips before you start reporting. Although time intensive, you can collect your data manually from your utility bills or meters. Note that if you go this route, you should audit the data for completeness and correctness before you base your sustainability plans off it. Alternately, you can task an energy and sustainability management platform with automatically collecting and auditing your data (more on this below).
3. Obtain Organization-Wide Endorsement
Reporting to SASB is a major undertaking which involves coordinating between senior management, employees, and external stakeholders. It also involves creating a culture of sustainability at your company and, most importantly, showing company leadership why reporting to SASB is so important. To do this, you may want to share the benefits of sustainability reporting (increased transparency, consumer and investor trust and support, improved public reputation, etc.) internally. Having organization-wide support is valuable even after reporting season is over – it will help you implement strategies for sustainable, responsible growth going forward.
4. Know Your Stakeholders
Because reporting to SASB is mainly for the benefit of your company’s stakeholders, it is vital that you understand who your internal and external stakeholders are and know their requirements. This will allow you to collect and report relevant sustainability data.
5. Determine Which Specific Metrics are Most Relevant for Your Business
Because each business is unique, there may be some disclosures and metrics relevant to your business that are not covered in your assigned industry standard but are instead covered by other SASB standards. After you identify your standard on the SASB website, read through the disclosures that apply and see if they fit with your company. If they do not seem to apply, peruse the other related industry standards, and use the SASB Implementation Primer to determine which disclosures you should report to.
6. Get Your Investors Engaged
Investors are among the main targets of SASB reporting, so understanding your investors’ interests will help you in reporting results. Before you begin reporting, engage with your investors about what they want to see. Not only will this help inform you about what data to collect and what direction to take your reporting, it will also foster trust and transparency.
7. Utilize an Energy and Sustainability Management Platform
Because reporting to SASB requires such a wide range of sustainability data to be collected across various company functions, an energy and sustainability management platform allows you to reduce manual work, automate reporting and improve data completeness, accuracy, and quality. Manual Excel-based approaches to SASB data collection are prone to error, which is the last thing you want when reporting to a major framework!
8. Get Started
Even if you don’t fell your company is perfect on the sustainability front, it is important to report anyway. If reporting fosters trust and transparency, avoiding reporting has the opposite effect. Get started with what you currently have, and work towards improving over time.
How WatchWire Can Help With Reporting to SASB
WatchWire is an integrated energy and sustainability management platform that can compile, audit, and analyze your sustainability data, as described above. WatchWire also integrates directly with SASB for seamless reporting. To discover more about WatchWire and its capabilities, you can visit our website, blog, or resource library, request a demo, or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter to keep up-to-date on the latest energy and sustainability insights, news, and resources.
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