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SASB ... Sustainability Accounting Standards Board



Peter Burgess

SASB - INFORMING THE INVESTMENT COMMUNITY Posted by Sue Lebeck on March 12, 2013 at 9:28pm in Innovation Stories

THE INNOVATION: Driving core business value by providing comparable, verifiable sustainability (ESG) data to the investment community.

Marisa Mackey
Associate Director, Education Services Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB)


What are we doing that’s innovative at SASB? What are we NOT doing that’s innovative at SASB? SASB is fulfilling an unmet market need. Currently, investors do not have access to comparable, quantified, verifiable environmental/social/governmental data, i.e. ESG data. That is what our standards could provide. It could create a sea change in how companies perform on these metrics, embedding it into their core business and driving core business value.….

Once a company needs to disclose, it becomes part and parcel of their strategy... If they are corporate value drivers, then investors start to care, CEOs start to care, CFOs start to care.

The Origins of SASB: SASB was founded by our Executive Director... Dr. Jean Rogers is an amazing inspiring woman…. She was at Harvard and wrote a paper about moving companies from transparency to performance. The way Jean tells the story, 'Gosh, someone should really do this.' [And a colleague said] 'You know, FASB’s a non-profit.' And a lightbulb went on in Jean’s mind. 'If this is [not the government but] a non-profit, then I could do this.'

'What I Love about SASB...'

I come from Wall Street… Throughout it, I always felt like investment banking was this zero-sum game... What am I doing for the broader good? How am I giving back to people? I moved into education, but then I was educating bankers who in a couple of years [would likely be] jaded bankers. I’m passionate about finance, I love geeking out on it. My role at SASB personally is at the intersection of finance, of sustainability, of education, and innovation. [Shareholder] value creation and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. You can have both, and here is how you can do it.

'What Do You Want to Invest In?...'

I worked on a deal with a beverage producer – a kind of sweet beverage which kids drink like crazy, and I had a hard time getting excited about that. There are technologies and products and services that are good for society. I can help investors identify companies who are taking advantage of producing products that are good for the world.

Words of Wisdom...

Speak the language of the ones who might control the system... The onus is on us at SASB to be able to make the case that sustainability creates shareholder value... to speak and translate [this message] into the language of the CEO, the CFO, the portfolio manager. Sue: It’s kind of like the Aikido approach – joining and then redirecting. Marisa: Yeah, Absolutely. We had a board member as well who said: 'You’ve got to take the religion out of this'. We’re not necessarily advocates. What we do will ultimately create positive change. …. We’re going to do this by working within the system… by showing the business case…. You have to speak to all the individuals’ motivations and needs in the system, and not just rail against the system.
Sue: What drives you, might not necessarily drive your audience.
Marisa: Absolutely. Everything is a sale. You have to pay attention to presentation. You have to be able to step into their shoes… speak their language and assess their needs.

See Marisa's bio at Learn more about the implications of SASB in Joel Makower's treatment of the subject. Tags: Economy, Governance, Managed-intelligently, SASB, economy, governance ShareTwitterFacebook Views: 116 Replies are closed for this discussion.

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