The SASB Standards consist of 77 industry-based sustainability-related disclosure standards and include over 1,000 metrics. While they were not developed by the ISSB, the ISSB has been responsible for the maintenance and enhancement of these SASB Standards since the consolidation of the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF) with the IFRS Foundation in August 2022.
The SASB Standards are required to be considered when applying IFRS S1 and IFRS S2, when evaluating sustainability-related risks and opportunities in the absence of another IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standard. Therefore, it is important for the SASB standards to be globally appropriate. Prior to these amendments, the SASB Standards contained certain references to jurisdiction-specific laws and regulations, which were not globally applicable.
The ISSB split the project into two parts, resulting in two sets of changes. They initially published amendments in June 2023 to address the climate-related disclosure topics covered within IFRS S2. These amendments, published in December 2023, aim to remove the jurisdiction-specific references from non-climate related disclosure topics and metrics, to assist reporting entities when applying IFRS S1. There are approximately 650 non-climate related metrics, and from these, 220 metrics are impacted by these revisions.
The amendments have been drafted using a combination of the following revision approaches, in order of priority:
- replacing jurisdiction-specific terms with globally applicable references
- providing general descriptions to replace jurisdiction-specific terms
- permitting the application of local jurisdiction laws or regulations that comply with the preparer’s legal and regulatory environment to replace jurisdiction-specific terms that are not appropriate
- removing certain jurisdiction-specific metrics that were unsuitable for international application, and
- replacing certain jurisdiction-specific metrics if a relevant replacement could be found that preserved the intention of the original metric.
The amended SASB Standards are effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2025, with early application being permitted. This means the impact of the amendments will be initially seen in 2026 for reporting entities applying the Standards to their 31 December 2025 reporting cycles.
While the amendments do not set out any specific transition relief provisions, the ISSB considered the following when determining the effective date:
- The ISSB expects that preparers already applying the SASB standards should be able to continue to use most of the same data sources, processes, and reporting.
- An effective date of 1 January 2025 allows preparers a full year to assess whether they would be impacted by the changes and to implement those changes.
- IFRS S1 included transitional relief in the first year of application from reporting information about sustainability-related risks and opportunities beyond those relating to climate-related risks and opportunities. An effective date of 1 January 2025 for these amendments, provides consistency with this IFRS S1 transitional relief.
Next steps for preparers
While the goal of the ISSB was to avoid changing the structure, completeness, and intent of the SASB Standards, these amendments could still potentially require changes to internal data systems and the changes to certain metrics may result in changes to data collection, aggregation, or validation. As this will depend on the metrics in use by each individual entity as well as local jurisdictional requirements, it is important that preparers review the changes and ensure that the metrics utilised are not impacted, or to ensure that the metrics are updated appropriately, if applicable.
We welcome the publication of these amendments because they help to achieve greater international applicability of the SASB Standards, when reporting entities are applying IFRS S1. Global consistency and clarity of the requirements of the standards are critical to a reporting entity’s ability to provide useful sustainability reporting, and we are pleased to see that the ISSB is continuing to work towards that goal.