Which standard is better, SASB or GRI?
Updated: Aug 2, 2021
By Chea Srun | XQuant
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) are two widely used international standards for sustainability reporting. Companies who want to start reporting are often confused about which standard to use. Below are some simple answers to the question:
First, both standards have a different approach to materiality and to environmental and social impact:
SASB provides standards for 77 industries across 11 sectors. For each industry, the standard identifies which sustainability issues are likely to have impact on the financial performance and long-term value of the companies. Following the SASB materiality map, companies can simply find out what to report according to the industry they belong.
GRI provides companies comprehensive principle-based framework with a common language for disclosures. There are a total of 37 sets of standards providing universal and topic specific disclosures. GRI has a flexible approach to materiality and focuses on the economic, environmental and social impact of the company’s activities.
In fact, very often a single standard is not enough to cover the full range of needs of an organization. Different stakeholders might have different approach to materiality. As result, many companies chose to report using both SASB and GRI.
According to the 2020 KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting, out of 132 respondents, 39% used both GRI and SASB.
Source: KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting 2020
So rather than competing with each other, SASB and GRI are completing each other to provide companies a full range of standards to meet the needs of their audience.
For a more detailed analysis, please refer to the Practical Guide to Sustainability Reporting Using GRI and SASB Standards
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