Updated with correction
Investors in U.S. companies are eager for more uniform ESG reporting from those companies that allows for apples-to-apples comparisons of the information most relevant for their investment decisions.
The leading source for that information in U.S. markets is proving to be the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, which in late 2018 developed 77 industry standards designed to evolve along with investors' needs and to connect the measures to performance.
The globally applicable industry-specific standards identify the minimal set of financially material sustainability topics and their associated metrics for a typical company in an industry. Along with a materiality map that graphically explains a relevant standard, SASB offers an engagement guide to help investors discuss financially material issues with companies, and an implementation guide for companies.
The industry-specific standards identify sustainability-related risks and opportunities most likely to affect a company's financial condition, operating performance or risk profile.
"From day one, they were designed to help enable ESG integration into investment processes, in a scalable, cost-effective way," said SASB CEO Janine Guillot in San Francisco. SASB was founded to mimic the concept and process of accounting standards, an analogy she likes "because accounting standards are never done," she said. SASB's goal is to have 75% of S&P Global 1200 companies using the standards within five years.