A Legal Framework for Impact

Last updated: 2021

This legal review found that while there are differences across jurisdictions and investor groups, where investing for sustainability impact approaches can be effective in achieving an investor’s financial goals, the investor will likely be required to consider using them and act accordingly.

It also provides an extensive suite of options for policymakers wishing to facilitate investing for sustainability impact, including changing investors’ legal duties and discretions, such as allowing the pursuit of sustainability goals as long as financial return goals are prioritised, and a presumption in favour of investor collaboration in tackling sustainability challenges.

Use this resource to:

  • Strategy: Understand whether the law permits, encourages, or even requires investors to manage the sustainability outcomes of their investments.

GRI Standards

Last updated: Various

Reporting standards designed to help organisations understand and disclose their impacts in a way that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders. These standards are arranged by a set of Universal Standards that apply to all organisations, and 35 Topic Standards that contain disclosures for impacts related to economic, environmental and social topics.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Measure sustainability performance: Identify metrics to measure for each significant topic. The standards themselves provide guidance on selecting metrics to report. Using standardised metrics helps the organisation and its stakeholders compare performance with others.
  • Disclose: Report to all stakeholders on ‘material topics’ that reflect the organisation’s most significant impacts.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Assets use the measurement and disclosure standards and guidance for organisations, and investors can provide capacity to help adherence.

SASB Standards

Last updated: n/a

Reporting standards that provide industry-specific disclosure topics and associated metrics that measure performance against 26 General Issue Categories (or sustainability topics). Management or mismanagement of performance on these sustainability topics may create, preserve or erode value for the typical company in a given industry over time.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: Identify the relevant industry standard to find industry-specific topics and accounting metrics. These standards can be a useful input when identifying which sustainability topics to disclose.
  • Measure sustainability performance: Identify metrics from the standards. The standards themselves provide guidance on selecting metrics to report. Using standardised metrics helps the organisation and its stakeholders compare performance with others.
  • Estimate value created: SASB evaluates sustainability topics for inclusion in the Standards by assessing whether a given topic is reasonably likely to materially affect the financial condition, operating performance, or risk profile of a typical company within an industry. Collecting information on these metrics provides insight that can inform estimation of value to the organisation.
  • Disclose: Report to providers of financial capital on sustainability topics that are likely to affect how value is created, sustained or eroded for the organisation over the short-, medium-, and long-term.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Assets use the measurement and disclosure standards and guidance for organisations, and investors can provide capacity to help adherence.

GRI Topic-specific Standards

Last updated: n/a

Reporting standards designed to help organisations understand and disclose their impacts in a way that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders. These standards are arranged by a set of Universal Standards that apply to all organisations, and 35 Topic Standards that contain disclosures for impacts related to economic, environmental and social topics.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Measure sustainability performance: Identify metrics to measure for each significant topic. The standards themselves provide guidance on selecting metrics to report. Using standardised metrics helps the organisation and its stakeholders compare performance with others.
  • Disclose: Report to all stakeholders on ‘material topics’ that reflect the organisation’s most significant impacts.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Identify: Refer to the Sector Standards as a starting point for identifying likely significant impacts.
  • Disclose: Report to all stakeholders on ‘material topics’ that reflect the organisation’s most significant impacts. The Sector Standards are a helpful starting point for identifying likely significant impacts.

Integrated Reporting Framework

Last updated: 2021

Reporting framework that provides principles-based guidance for organisations seeking to create an integrated report, containing both financial and non-financial information. The guidance is tailored specifically for private sector, for-profit companies, but the Framework can also be applied to the public sector and non-for-profit organisations.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Integrate and act: Follow integrated thinking principles to improve the organisation’s understanding of the connectivity and interdependencies between the range of factors that affect an organisation’s ability to create value over time.
  • Disclose: Report to providers of financial capital on sustainability topics that are likely to affect value creation over the short-, medium-, and long-term.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Disclose: Report on sustainability topics that are likely to affect value creation over the short-, medium-, and long-term.

CDSB Framework for Reporting Environmental and Climate Change Information

Last updated: 2019

This reporting framework offers companies seven guiding principles and 12 reporting requirements to help prepare (financially) material and decision-useful environmental disclosures for the mainstream report. CDSB additionally offers topic-specific guidance for companies, such as on climate-related reporting and climate accounting.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Integrate and act: Understand how to prepare environmental and climate change information in a way that connects to mainstream financial information.
  • Disclose: Report on financially material environmental and climate change information.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Understand the measurement and disclosure standards and guidance for organisations, so that investors can provide capacity to the asset to help adherence.
  • Disclose: Understand how underlying assets might prepare environmental and climate change information in a way that connects to mainstream financial information.

Investing with SDG Outcomes: A Five-part Framework

Last updated: 2020

A high-level framework for any investors looking to shape real-world outcomes in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Use this resource to:

  • Identify: Identify and understand the unintended outcomes of an investors’ investments and their own operations. This assessment involves identifying positive and negative real-world outcomes related to investees’ operations, products and services.
  • Act: Explore examples of how investors shape outcomes through investor actions including: investment decisions, stewardship of investees and engagement with policy makers and key stakeholders.
  • Set Targets: Move from identifying and understanding unintended outcomes towards taking intentional steps to shape outcomes. 

GRI Sector Standards

Last updated: n/a

GRI is developing standards for 40 sectors to compliment their current topic standards.

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: Use the list of topics listed for each Sector Standard as an input when identifying sustainability topics to measure.
  • Disclose: Report to all stakeholders on ‘material topics’ that reflect the organisation’s most significant impacts. The Sector Standards are a helpful starting point for identifying likely significant impacts.

GRI Universal Standards

Last updated: 2021

Reporting standards designed to help any organisation understand and disclose their impacts in a way that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders. There are a set of Universal Standards that apply to all organisations, and 35 Topic Standards that contain disclosures for impacts related to economic, environmental and social topics.

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: Use the guidance in the Universal Standards (GRI 1, 2 and 3) when conducting a materiality assessment for reporting. This type of materiality assessment also helps identify sustainability topics to measure and manage.