SASB and IIRC Merge
In November 2020, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) announced that they would merge into one unified organization, hereon known as the Value Reporting Foundation.
We reached out to Jeff Cohen, Director of Capital Markets Integration at SASB, who responded to our two key questions about the merger.
Why have the IIRC and SASB decided to merge?
The merger is a response to global market demands for convergence among standard setters and an intensification of efforts to advance a global solution for comprehensive reporting. It is a signal of our commitment to advance the unified system for reporting (based on the building blocks approach we set out with CDP, CDSB, and GRI) in our joint paper “Statement of Intent To Work Together Towards Comprehensive Corporate Reporting”.
The merger will:
- Simplify the field by bringing together the leading standard-setter for disclosing sustainability information to investors with the leading framework for integrating sustainability information with financial and other capitals.
- Globalize both organizations by combining SASB’s strength in the US with the IIRC’s strong presence in the rest of the world.
- Support the needs of investors and other capital market participants for a comprehensive view of a company’s performance and prospects.
- Focus on reporting as a means to changing behavior by enabling improved corporate governance and investment decision making.
- Aim to achieve interoperability with the GRI standards—which help companies report on their impacts on the economy, environment, and people—so that companies can improve efficiency by using information for multiple purposes.
- Aim to help accelerate progress toward a comprehensive corporate reporting system, including continuing to work with our colleagues at CDP, CDSB, and GRI to support public authorities/regulators and accounting standards-setters as they consider their future role regarding sustainability disclosure.
What are the expectations from the new united organization?
The purpose of the Value Reporting Foundation is to merge SASB and IIRC into a credible, international organization that maintains the integrated reporting framework, advocates integrated thinking, and sets sustainability disclosure standards for enterprise value creation. It is a major advancement towards building a more comprehensive and coherent corporate reporting system. In an era where the impacts of the global pandemic, climate change, and growing inequality are intensifying, the concepts of sustainability and intangible value have grown in importance. Capital markets must evolve to deliver long-term value to shareholders while also helping secure the future of our people and our planet—improving reporting is an important means to this end.
This merger allows for strengthening integrated thinking and reporting through merging two entities focused on enterprise value creation within the broader corporate reporting system. The Framework and the SASB Standards are complementary tools for investor-focused communications, that also benefit other stakeholders. The conceptual underpinnings of the Framework’s six capitals and the SASB Standards’ five sustainability dimensions are already well-aligned, and we will look at making this alignment even clearer underneath the Value Reporting Foundation. Via its by-laws, board composition, organizational structure, purpose, and culture, the Value Reporting Foundation will maintain integrated reporting, integrated thinking, a multicapital approach, rigorous processes, and a focus on disclosure tailored for investors (with these endeavors ultimately benefitting other key stakeholders). We will ensure the independence of the processes for developing the Framework and SASB Standards.