The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has issued provisional standards for eight more industries.
The industries are part of what SASB calls the “Consumption II” sector. The standards address sustainability disclosure topics relevant for companies in the following industries: apparel, accessories & footwear, appliance manufacturing, building products & furnishings, drug retailers & convenience stores, e-commerce, food retailers & distributors, multiline and specialty retailers & distributors, and toys & sporting goods.
Due to a large number of industries, SASB has divided the Consumption sector into two parts, Consumption I (industries focused on staples manufacturing) and Consumption II (consumer goods and retailing). The Consumption I standards were issued in June (see SASB Issues Provisional Accounting Standards for Consumption Industries).
The standards help companies disclose sustainability information that is likely to be material. Some examples of disclosure topics for these industries include management of chemicals in products, data security, labor conditions in the supply chain, and product lifecycle environmental impacts. The standards average two topics per industry, and 76 percent of metrics are quantitative.
SASB does not play an official role in setting accounting standards, despite the similarity of its name to the Financial Accounting Standards Board. SASB is a nonprofit organization that provides sustainability accounting standards for use by publicly listed corporations in the U.S. to help companies manage and disclose the sustainability issues that are likely to have a material impact on them.
“Many industries in this sector are characterized by thin net profit margins and pricing competition, making operational efficiency and resulting cost savings critical,” said SASB CEO Dr. Jean Rogers in a statement. “Additionally, these are consumer-facing industries, so protecting brand value from ‘headline risk’ such as labor disputes is important. These are sustainability issues that SASB standards help companies identify, manage and disclose.” ]
The working groups for the Consumption II industries included 228 participants affiliated with publicly traded companies with $363 billion market capitalization, and investment firms with $9.2 trillion in assets under management.
SASB standards remain provisional for at least one year after the issuance date for a public comment period, during which SASB conducts cost-benefit analysis and engages in consultation with issuers. To provide feedback, visit SASB’s public comment portal.