SASB Releases Provisional Sustainability Accounting Standards for Technology & Communication Industries

Standards development process included feedback from individuals representing $1.9 trillion in market capital and $2.3 trillion in assets under management

Apr 02, 2014, 08:00 ET from Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

SAN FRANCISCO, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB)™, a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides sustainability accounting standards for use by publicly listed corporations in the U.S., today released provisional standards for industries in the Technology & Communications sector. SASB standards help corporations comply with existing regulation, Regulation S-K, to disclose all material issues in the Form 10-K. SASB is accredited to set standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

SASB's provisional standards address the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues likely to be material for companies in six industries in the Technology & Communications sector: Electronic Manufacturing Services & Original Design Manufacturing, Hardware, Internet Media & Services, Semiconductors, Software & IT Services, and Telecommunications. Examples of issues included are waste & water management in manufacturing; data privacy and freedom of expression; and supply chain management and materials sourcing.   

SASB standards—which identify the minimum set of sustainability issues for each industry—are designed to be cost-effective for companies and decision-useful for investors. The average number of sustainability issues in each Technology & Communications standard is between 5 and 6, and 78 percent of suggested accounting metrics are quantitative.

"Technology & Communications is a unique sector in that it's evolving so quickly. Traditional business models and governance structures are being disrupted and companies are innovating to stay relevant. Within this innovation, companies have the potential to impact society in profound ways," says Dr. Jean Rogers, SASB CEO. "SASB standards help investors understand and compare the material sustainability risks and opportunities that companies face in this quickly changing field."

SASB's standards development process includes research supported by Bloomberg data, multi-stakeholder industry working groups, a public comment period, and review by an independent Standards Council. The working groups for the Technology & Communications sector— which included 215 registrants— represented publicly traded companies with more than $1.9 trillion market capital and investment firms with more than $2.3 trillion in assets under management. A full list of working group members can be found here. SASB's standards are considered provisional for one year after the issuance date. SASB welcomes feedback on the standards during the provisional phase.    

"At Symantec one of our objectives is to more fully integrate corporate responsibility/sustainability efforts because they support and further the company's business purpose. To achieve this, we know it is important to keep investors apprised of this information, which they increasingly see as material," says Cecily Joseph, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Symantec. SASB's standards—which are developed with significant company and investor input—are a resource for this effort." 

Companies seeking assistance using SASB standards are invited to apply to the SASB Corporate Roundtable. SASB standards will be developed for 80+ industries in 10 sectors through the beginning of 2016. View the full schedule of SASB's standards development process here.

About SASB

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB)™ is an independent 501(c)3 organization that develops industry-specific standards for use in disclosing material sustainability issues in mandatory filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. More than 1,350 individuals representing $15T assets under management and $6.5T market capital have participated in multi-stakeholder industry working groups informing standards development for six sectors to date.  For more information about SASB, visit, or follow us on YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Michael Boonshoft

SOURCE Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)