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SASB Releases Provisional Sustainability Accounting Standards for Health Care Industry, A Key Milestone in Improving Disclosure of Material Non-Financial Information

Standards development process included feedback from organizations representing $800 billion in market capital and $952 billion in assets under management

Published 07-31-13

Submitted by SASB

 The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB)™, a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides sustainability accounting standards for use by publicly listed corporations in the U.S., today released its first set of provisional standards for industries in the Health Care sector. SASB encourages corporations to begin using the provisional standards, which are designed for disclosure in the Form 10-K, 20-F and other required SEC filings. SASB is accredited to set standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

SASB’s provisional standards are available for six industries in the Health Care sector: biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies & equipment, health care delivery, health care distributors and managed care. The standards address the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues likely to be material for companies in these industries. Issues addressed include resource management, pharmaceutical water contamination, drug safety and side effects, ethical marketing, affordability and fair pricing, managed care price performance and safety of clinical trial participants.

SASB’s standards development process includes research supported by Bloomberg technology, data and analytical tools; balanced, multi-stakeholder industry working groups; a public comment period; and review by an independent Standards Council comprised of experts in standards development, securities law, investment, environmental law, metrics and accounting. The working groups for the Health Care sector – which included 127 survey responses – represented publicly traded companies with more than $800 billion market capital and investment firms with more than $952 billion in assets under management. Working group members include representatives from Baxter, Cleveland Clinic, J&J, Kaiser Permanente, Pfizer, Merck, Novo Nordisk, AllianceBernstein, Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Calvert Investment and USB Securities.

“The broad participation in our standards setting process demonstrates the unmet need in the U.S. financial accounting system to articulate material, non-financial risks and opportunities via the channel through which investors are accustomed to receiving information,” said Dr. Jean Rogers, founder and executive director of SASB. “SASB standards are cost-effective, relevant, useful, comparable and auditable. They are the first that truly enable comparison of peer performance and benchmarking within an industry.”

SASB standards help corporations comply with existing regulation, Regulation S-K, that requires that all material issues must be reported in the Form 10-K. U.S. Federal law requires publicly listed companies to disclose material information, defined by the U.S. Supreme Court as “presenting a substantial likelihood that the disclosure of the omitted fact would have been viewed by the reasonable investor as having significantly altered the ‘total mix’ of information made available.” SASB standards will be developed for 80+ industries in 10 sectors over the next two years.

“By establishing standards for reporting industry-focused metrics on material non-financial information, SASB helps provide investors with a more complete view of a company's risks and opportunities,” said Robert Herz, former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

In the coming months SASB will release provisional sustainability accounting standards for the Financials and Technology & Communications sectors. Standards for the Non-Renewables sector are in active development. View the full schedule of SASB’s standards development process here.

About SASB
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB)™ is an independent 501(c)3 organization that establishes and maintains industry-specific standards for use in disclosing material sustainability issues for the benefit of investors, corporations and the public. More than 650 survey responses, from individuals representing $8.8T assets under management and $3.1T market capital, have been collected for standards development for three sectors to date. For more information about SASB, visit, or follow us on YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn.

SASB Healthcare Industry Working Group Participants*




Atlas Copco (STO: ATCO-A)

AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB)


Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX)

American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees

Antea Group

Becton, Dickinson and Company


The Art of Value

Arup Laboratories

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB)

Bloomberg LP

Badrick Consulting, LLC

Biomet Microfixation

Boston Common Asset Management

Bain & Company

Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA

Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Berg & Associates

Boulder Community Hospital

Calvert Investments

Casazza Herman, LLC

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE: CBG)

Core Capital Management


Crowe Horwath LLP

Cleveland Clinic

Domini Social Investments, LLC


Davita  (NYSE:DVA)

Harrington Investments

Environmental Resources Management (ERM)

Encision, Inc (OTC:ECIA)

Global Impact Investing Network

Ernst & Young

GGZ Drenthe

PGGM Investments

HIMSS (Healthcare Information & Management System Society)

HCA Holdings, Inc  (NYSE:HCA)

Service Employees International Union

Indian Council of Medical Research

Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR)

Stifel Nicolaus

Indiana University

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

Sustainable Capital

KDH Systems

Kaiser Permanente


Meridian Management Consulting

Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment

Trillium Asset Management, LLC


Merck (NYSE: MRK)

UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust

The Middle Way, Pty Ltd

Mettler-Toledo International Inc. (NYSE:MTD)

UBS Securities

My-linh Ngo

Montefiore Medical Center


Orange County Sustainability Collaborative

Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO)


Physicians for Social Responsibility

Nura Life Sciences


Practice Greenhealth

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)



Schneider Electric (Euronext: SU)


San Francisco Department of Public Health

UCSF Medical Center


ValueStream Advisors

Veterans Health Administration (VHA)



Washington Hospital Healthcare System



Weston Solutions, Inc



*All industry working group participants serve as individuals imparting personal and professional expertise. The organizations listed alongside participants names on SASB’s list of IWG participants are shown for affiliation purposes only – no past or current organizational endorsement of SASB is hereby implied.

SASB logo



The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB™) is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides standards for use by publicly-listed corporations in the U.S. in disclosing material sustainability issues for the benefit of investors and the public. SASB standards are designed for disclosure in mandatory filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), such as the Form 10-K and 20-F. SASB standards will result in the improved performance of 13,000+ corporations, representing over $16 trillion in funds, on the highest-priority environmental, social and governance issues.

SASB is accredited to establish sustainability accounting standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). SASB is not affiliated with FASB, GASB, IASB or any other accounting standards boards.

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