Companies in the transportation sector now have some new standards to consider on how to report on material sustainability information.
The sustainability standards for the non-renewable resources sector, released Sept. 24, mark the fifth set in a planned industry-focused series of standards by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board that tells companies how to account for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters that are likely to be material to the company’s performance. So far, SASB has also published standards for the non-renewables, health care, financials, technology and communications sectors.
The non-profit board, funded by a handful of foundations, has conducted research to determine what sustainability issues would be regarded as material, then developed standards working with industry representatives on how to report on them.
The board, which began its standard-setting activity in October 2012, is focusing on material sustainability issues that public companies are already required to report in their Form 10-K. SASB's first group of standards focused on the health care sector. In all, the group said it will develop standards for at least 80 industries in 10 sectors through the beginning of 2016.
“Companies in this sector are operating in a context of rising energy costs, changing energy regulation, and the need to improve worker and passenger safety, among other variables,” says SASB CEO Jean Rogers. “SASB standards help companies manage—and investors evaluate—the sustainability issues most likely to affect the operating performance and financial condition of a company.”
SASB’s standards address ESG issues most likely to contain material information for companies in eight industries in transportation: automobiles; auto parts; car rental and leasing; airlines; air freight and logistics; marine transportation; rail transportation; and road transportation. Examples of issues included are accident and safety management, environmental footprint of fuel use, and fair labor practices.
SASB said it has gained consensus around these issues in the transportation sector by working with 230 participants in an industry working group representing publicly traded companies with more than $621 billion market capital, and investment firm with more than $3.3 trillion in assets under management.
SASB is looking for industry participants who would be willing to help with the standard-setting process for sectors such as transportation, services, infrastructure, and more. View the full schedule of SASB's standards developments here.