SASB Provides a Remedy for Sustainability Issues Reporting

According to the ANSI, SASB working groups must maintain a balance of one-third corporate representatives, one-third investors, and one-third other stakeholders, such as academics, accountants, auditors, consultants, policymakers, and regulators.
 
"We've had more than 650 participants go through our working groups for the next two sectors for which we are developing standards," Rogers said.
 
Leveling the Playing Field
The sustainability accounting standards are available for the following six industries within the health care sector:
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Health care delivery
  • Health care distributors
  • Managed care
Rogers said the standards address several other issues that fall under ESG, which are likely to be material for companies in these industries. Some of those issues include:
  • Resource management
  • Pharmaceutical water contamination
  • Drug safety and side effects
  • Ethical marketing
  • Affordability and fair pricing
  • Managed care price performance
  • Safety of clinical trial participants
"For example, in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, we look at environmental issues, such as resource management in manufacturing facilities, characteristics of energy and water use, and carbon emissions," she said. "But we also look at things like counterfeit drugs and safety of clinical trials, which are examples of the government and social issues that are relevant to those two industries.
 
"Those factors are different from what we would find in health care delivery, which would be more about quality of care, patient satisfaction, patient privacy, use of electronic health records, and facilities designed for wellness," Rogers continued. "What we are doing is taking those broad categories and interpreting what would make that information meaningful to an investor. How would an investor want to benchmark peers on those issues within an industry?"
 
Rogers said the SASB hopes to level the playing field in terms of nonfinancial reporting of sustainability issues.
 
"Companies and investors are responding in the sense that these issues are highly material, that it will give them a cost-effective way to disclose performance, and that it eases reporting fatigue," she concluded. "Every day, companies feel the burden by spending too much time reporting on things that investors and analysts never ask about. The important message is this is not additional reporting; it is bringing clarity to a subset of reporting that is highly material."
 

You may like these other stories...

Credit Suisse says pension assets at risk unless court delays sentencingJohn Letzing of the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Credit Suisse Group AG says its management of billions of dollars in assets for...
The prospect of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) being fully adopted in the United States in the near future are growing less likely, as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International...
House proposes $10.5B, eight-month highway billThe House Ways and Means Committee proposed a transportation funding bill on Tuesday that calls for a temporary extension of current transportation funding levels until May 31,...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.