Goldman Sachs First Bank to Release Report Using SASB Standards

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 24, 2019
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Goldman Sachs became the first bank to issue a sustainability report using the standards of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), according to Accounting Today. The SASB, based in San Francisco, is an organization that produces industry-specific standards for companies to draft sustainability reports with investors as the intended audience. In a presentation given at the NYSSCPA's Wall Street offices last year (see page 15) David Parham, the SASB’s deputy director of research, said the goal is to have a standardized approach to reporting environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance that is on par with financial reporting. In order to develop the standards in this way, Parham said the SASB consulted heavily with members of the investment community, who informed the organization on what sustainability aspects they did and did not care about, which sometimes ran counter to the SASB’s initial assumptions. 

The Goldman Sachs report uses three of the standards that are applied to financial institutions: Asset Management & Custody Activities, Investment Banking & Brokerage, and Commercial Banks. They call for disclosures relating to factors such as diversity and inclusion (Goldman Sachs said that its most recent partner class had the highest proportion of female and black professionals ever, as well as an eight-year high for Asian professionals); systemic risk management (the report noted its compliance with Basel committee methods for managing systemic risk as well as Dodd-Frank protocols); incorporation of environmental/social/governance factors in investment activity (it pointed to its environmental policy framework); and financial inclusion and capacity building (the report said it had $1.03 billion in debt assets and $1.47 billion in equity assets from small business and community development); and many, many others. 

The May/June issue of The Trusted Professional will feature a wide-ranging interview with the new CEO of the SASB Foundation, former World Bank vice president Madelyn Antoncic.

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