The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, a nonprofit organization that provides sustainability accounting standards that can be used on a voluntary basis by publicly listed U.S. corporations, has debuted a Data Provider Partner Program to give investors access to information on corporate sustainability performance.

SASB is not an official accounting standard-setter in the same way that the Financial Accounting Standards Board is authorized by the Securities and Exchange Commission to set accounting standards, but it has created provisional standards that can be used by companies in different industries to help investors and analysts gauge their environmental efforts. SASB pointed out that it has been officially accredited to set sustainability accounting standards by the American National Standards Institute.

Through the new Data Provider Partner Program, organizations can license the right to integrate SASB's framework into their software to provide data on material factors correlating with SASB standards to facilitate analysis of a company's sustainability performance compared to its peers and industry benchmarks.

Investors and analysts already have access to a great deal of environmental, social and governance data through public and proprietary means, but often have little insight into which factors are likely to drive financial performance. SASB argues that its standards can help investors identify such factors, which vary by industry and are a small subset of what is currently reported by companies. Harvard Business School research found that  companies that perform well on key sustainability issues enjoy enhanced market returns over firms that perform poorly.

“We hear again and again that investors want to use sustainability information, but that the data available is overwhelming and not investment-grade,” said SASB CEO Dr. Jean Rogers in a statement. “By incorporating SASB’s framework into third-party platforms, the Data Provider Partner Program is the next step in improving the quality, focus, comparability and accessibility of the information available to investors.”

SASB is partnering with B Lab to enable investors to directly request through B Lab’s B Analytics tool that companies disclose certain SASB metrics. B Analytics allows investors to benchmark their portfolio’s environmental impact against third-party metrics.

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