In his role as Chair of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Jeffrey Hales rang the opening bell at NASDAQ and the London Stock Exchange in late November as part of a worldwide tour to celebrate the launch of sustainability accounting standards for global markets.
The 77 industry-based standards help companies communicate their performance on environmental and social issues that are likely to be of financial interest to investors. The standards were approved by SASB following six years of research with extensive market consultations and engagement across all sectors.
“This is an important milestone for global capital markets,” said Hales. “Companies and investors around the world now have codified, market-based standards for measuring, managing, and reporting on the sustainability factors that really drive value and affect operational performance.”
Previously, no standards existed to guide corporate communications to the capital markets on sustainability issues. This created real challenges for investors who wanted to compare companies on their sustainability performance.
“Corporate users have demonstrated that SASB standards are globally applicable, fit neatly alongside other sustainability frameworks, and may be used in a variety of core communications with investors,” Hales continued.
Hales is an affiliated faculty member of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (“Center”) at Scheller College of Business, and Catherine W. and Edwin A. Wahlen Jr. Professor, where he is joined by researchers across a full spectrum of business disciplines, from operations and marketing to finance and business ethics.
“The new SASB standards offer a platform for incorporating sustainability considerations into business reporting and facilitating consistency across investor evaluations of company performance,” said Center Managing Director Michael Oxman.
Since 2012, provisional versions of the SASB standards have been adopted by companies such as Diageo, General Motors, and Nike.