The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has released its 2017 Technical Agenda, listing the priorities and research areas that SASB plans to pursues this year.

SASB held a two-day public meeting at the end of June to vote on and approve the items on the agenda. Among them are items related to human capital management, cyber security, water risk and climate risk. In terms of climate risk, SASB is incorporating recommendations from a recently released report by the G20 Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure, within each industry where climate risk is a material factor.

Many other recommendations came from industry working groups. “The industry working groups and the recent consultation period gave us tremendous insight into the needs of issuers and investors for comparable, cost-effective disclosures,” said SASB Standards Board chair Dr. Jean Rogers in a statement. "We are one step closer to our goal of finalizing our standards and ensuring greater transparency in the capital markets.”

SASB plans to look at possible changes to 248 items within various industries and sectors. SASB will then issue an exposure draft in September describing any proposed changes, with a 90-day public comment period, followed by codification of the standards in the first quarter of 2018 for use in SEC filings.

Starting next year, SASB will get market feedback on implementation of the standards through various Sector Advisory Groups that will be formed in the first quarter of 2018. The advisory bodies will include industry experts who will provide input on any emerging and evolving topics that may require changes to a SASB standard. SASB has also formed an Investor Advisory Group, composed of 28 major asset owners and asset managers, including BlackRock, CalPERS, CalSTRS, and State Street Global Advisors.

Jean Rogers of SASB speaks at the Center for Audit Quality's 10th anniversary event
Jean Rogers of SASB speaks at the Center for Audit Quality's 10th anniversary event

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.