SASB Investor Advisory Group recruits 15 new members

May 22, 2019
New asset management representation from Canada, France, Japan, Norway and UK

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has expanded its Investor Advisory Group (IAG), a collection of leading asset owners and managers committed to improving sustainability-related disclosure to investors.

Fifteen new firms have joined the IAG, which has also named Barbara Zvan, chief risk and strategy officer of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, as the group’s new chair.

The moves are intended to reflect the growing relevance of SASB’s sustainability standards for global institutional investors, with the addition of new representation from Canada, France, Japan, Norway and the UK.

‘SASB welcomes the IAG’s new members as well as its new chair,’ SASB CEO Madelyn Antoncic says in a statement. ‘Barbara’s deep experience in risk management and investment strategy at one of the world’s largest pension funds makes her uniquely suited to lead the IAG. SASB standards help ensure investors have access to comparable, consistent and reliable information on financially material sustainability topics.

‘Our 15 new IAG members, alongside the founding members of this group, will contribute enormously to increasing awareness of SASB’s standards throughout the world.’

The 15 new member institutions are:

– AXA Investment Managers

– Brunel Pension Partnership

– Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

– Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

– Fidelity Investments

– Franklin Templeton Investments

– Harvard Management Company

– Hermes Investment Management

– Legal & General Investment Management America

– Manulife Investment Management

– Neuberger Berman

– Nissay Asset Management

– Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM)

– Putnam Investments

– Schroders.

‘Our mission is to safeguard and build wealth for future generations,’ Carine Smith Ihenacho, NBIM’s chief corporate governance officer notes. ‘As a long-term, universal investor, we have an interest in sustainable development. We urge [the supply of] standardized, concrete and relevant sustainability data and we ask companies to go from words to numbers – because what gets measured gets managed.’

SASB established the IAG in late 2016 to provide investor feedback and guidance for the organization and to demonstrate investor support for a market standard for investor-focused sustainability disclosure. A total of 44 firms, accounting for more than $32 trillion in assets under management, now serve as IAG members.

‘As the new chair of the IAG, I hope our group of 44 leading institutional investors will show how crucial standardized sustainability disclosure is to the world’s capital markets,’ Zvan says.

SASB last November launched its 77 industry-specific reporting standards for companies to disclose material environmental risks. The group had previously issued provisional reporting standards that were adopted by a selection of companies – such as GM, Merck, Nike and JetBlue – and praised by investors for their focus on industry-specific materiality issues.

SASB is also a member the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, which was launched by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) with the aim of promoting greater coherence, consistency and comparability between corporate reporting frameworks, standards and other requirements.

Other member organizations are the CDP, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), FASB (as observer), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Accounting Standards Board and International Organization for Standardization.

They started a two-year project last November to push for better alignment between the different frameworks. SASB, GRI and CDP plan to map their frameworks against the Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosure recommendations. Meanwhile, the IIRC and CDSB will look at how to further integrate non-financial and financial reporting.

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