Skip to Main Content

Sustainable Business

Sustainability Frameworks / Standards

United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

  • Over 7,000 signatories, with over $120 trillion in assets under management (i.e., client assets managed by the signatories) support Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that promotes sustainability through ESG.
  • Although the United Nations initiated PRI in 2005, the six principles of responsible investment were launched at the New York Stock Exchange in 2006 with 100 initial signatories.

IFRS Foundation’s International Sustainability Standards

  • In 2022, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) will develop IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, including disclosure requirements that address companies’ impacts on sustainability matters relevant to assessing enterprise value and making investment decisions. 
  • The IFRS Foundation is completing consolidation of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB—an initiative of CDP) and the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF—which houses the Integrated Reporting Framework and the SASB Standards). The SASB is expected to publish proposed changes arising out of several of its ongoing projects prior to the ISSB assuming responsibility for the SASB Standards.
  • IFRS® Standards are set by the International Accounting Standards Board (Board) and are used primarily by publicly traded companies.
  • The Board has also developed the IFRS for SMEs® Standard, which is used by small and medium-sized companies without public accountability.

Value Reporting Foundation’s SASB Standards (March 2022: SASB standards now part of IFRS Foundation)

  • Founded in 2011, SASB is a nonprofit organization that develops industry-specific sustainability accounting standards. 
  • In 2018, SASB published a comprehensive set of standards, 77 in all, covering 26 general ESG issue categories.
  • SASB creates separate ESG reporting standards for each industry. The industry-based approach used by SASB is valued by investors for producing decision-useful information and by preparers for producing cost-effective standards.
  • SASB was primarily designed with investors in mind. As a result, the SASB standards place a strong emphasis on ESG issues that are projected to have a significant financial impact. SASB standards have gained considerable traction – especially since January 2021 when BlackRock CEO Larry Fink recommended that companies follow SASB for industry-specific ESG disclosures.
  • Formed in 2021, VRF resulted from the merger of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the SASB board. VRF oversees the continued development of integrated reporting and SASB standards.

Global Reporting Initiative GRI Standards

  • Founded in 1997, GRI is the global standard-setter for impact reporting. Here's a short introduction to the GRI Standards.
  • In 2000, GRI created the first set of sustainability standards in the world.
  • In 2016, GRI transitioned from providing guidelines to setting the first global standards for sustainability reporting – the GRI Standards. The Standards continue to be updated and added to, including new topic standards on Tax (2019) and Waste (2020).
  • The newest GRI Standards developed three series (economic, environmental, and social) of 34 topic-specific standards to help companies report on the most material issues to their investors and other stakeholders.
  • The GRI Standards is a modular system of interconnected standards. Three series of Standards support the reporting process: the GRI Universal Standards, which apply to all organizations; the GRI Sector Standards, applicable to specific sectors; and the GRI Topic Standards, each listing disclosures relevant to a particular topic.
  • GRI feeds into Morningstar: Sustainalytics

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations 

  • Launched in 2015, The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) guides companies on disclosing climate-related financial risks to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders. The guidance identifies multiple climate-related risks and opportunities to disclose.
  • TCFD disclosures are organized into four broad sections: Governance, Strategy, Risk, and Metrics. 
  • The Task Force consists of 31 members from across the G20, representing both preparers and users of financial disclosures. The TCFD is chaired by Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P.
  • Recommendations are employed by over 3,000 organizations worldwide.
  • TCFD feeds into the CDP Questionnaire

Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) 

  • On January 1, 2022, the European Union Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) went into effect, requiring investment firms to declare activities that have a negative impact on biodiversity-sensitive areas.
  • The EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan, and its key component, the SFDR, aims to direct trillions of euros into sustainable investing.