SASB Releases Conceptual Framework, Announces Revised Calendar of Public Comment Periods

Source: Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, 14 October 2013

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, SASB™, a non-profit organization that provides sustainability accounting standards for use by publicly listed corporations in the U.S., released its Conceptual Framework and revised calendar of public comment periods.
The Conceptual Framework explains the concepts and definitions relevant to SASB’s work and creates a solid foundation for developing sustainability accounting standards that address material issues and are auditable, decision-useful for investors and cost-effective for companies. The Framework also supports SASB’s commitment to the best practices of standards setting, as evidenced by SASB’s status as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-certified organization.

SASB received 250 comments from 25 members of the public during a 45 day comment period on the draft framework. The comments came from diverse stakeholders, including representatives of Crowell & Moring, Domini Social Investments, Dow, the Electric Power Research Institute, PwC, Rockefeller & Co., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. An overview of how SASB responded to each comment received is available for download here.

"Setting standards without a conceptual framework is like navigating without a compass. SASB’s Conceptual Framework shows dedication to the best practices of standards development—especially important for the new territory of non-financial accounting standards," says Bob Herz, former chairman, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

“SASB’s Conceptual Framework guides everything we do, setting out the principles and criteria by which we develop standards for disclosure of material issues," says Dr. Jean Rogers, founder and executive director of SASB. "And the quality of feedback received during our public comment periods underscores the market’s interest in SASB’s sustainability accounting standards."

Today SASB also released the revised schedule of public comment periods for the remaining 75 industries in eight sectors (public comment periods have already been held for industries in the Health Care and Financials sectors).

The revised public comment schedule was developed in response to stakeholder feedback which called for lengthening periods of public comment from 30 to 90 days. The start dates for the remaining 90 day public comments periods are:
• Technology & Communications, October 2, 2013
• Non-Renewable Resources, January 14, 2014
• Transportation, April 7, 2014
• Services, July 16, 2014
• Resource Transformation, October 7, 2014
• Consumption, January 13, 2015
• Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy, April 8, 2015
• Infrastructure, July 7, 2015

The public comment period for six industries in the Technology & Communications sector is now open. For the next 90 days, the general public can comment on draft standards for Electronic Manufacturing
Services, Software & IT Services, Hardware, Semiconductors, Telecommunications, and Internet Media & Services.

About SASB

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB)™ is an independent 501(c)3 organization that establishes and maintains industry-specific standards for use in disclosing material sustainability issues for the benefit of investors, corporations and the public. More than 850 people, including investors representing $12T assets under management and companies representing $5T market capital, have participated standards development for four out of ten sectors thus far.