Companies are finding it helpful to use SASB and GRI standards together for their sustainability reporting, according to a research report released Thursday.
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and Global Reporting Initiative interviewed four global companies: Diageo in the U.K., City Developments Ltd., Singapore, Detroit-based General Motors and Suncor Energy in Canada. The results are in the research report, A Practical Guide to Sustainability Reporting Using GRI and SASB Standards, that includes surveys with 132 business representatives from around the world.
The guide is aimed at helping companies and investors figure out what frameworks and standards to use for ESG reporting. It highlights the similarities and distinctions between the two sets of standards, including materiality, disclosures, audiences and the standard setting process.
The joint researchers found that the standards complement each other, with GRI supporting comprehensive disclosures on organizational impacts, while SASB focuses on a subset of financially material issues.
"These frameworks are a really good acid test for you as a business, to make sure that you are tackling issues which you should be thinking about," said Harriet Howey, global non-financial reporting and ESG lead for Diageo.
Sharon Basel, senior manager of sustainability reporting and ESG strategy for GM said in the same statement that she doesn't "buy any company's argument that it's too onerous" to use both standards, with GRI driving the narrative about how a company manages issues material to stakeholders and SASB more focused on financial materiality.