The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) in September 2021 released the SASB Standards Taxonomy, which translates 77-industry specific sustainability standards into the digital XBRL format.
The financial reporting space has greatly benefited from requirements for companies to report information in XBRL or eXtensible Business Reporting Language. XBRL converts individual corporate reporting concepts into machine-readable tags or labels that facilitate analysis and comparability of reports containing financially material information – thereby enhancing decision-making by investors and other stakeholders. An XBRL taxonomy is a dictionary of such machine-readable concepts.
The XBRL format has revolutionized regulatory compliance and corporate reporting in various jurisdictions such as the US, UK, EU, South Africa, and there is no reason why sustainability reporting cannot benefit from a format that facilitates documents that are human- and machine-readable at the same time.
Therefore, the release of the SASB Standards Taxonomy has been eagerly anticipated – even though this is not the first time a set of sustainability standards were given digital definitions.