The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has published what it claims to be the world’s first set of industry-specific sustainability accounting standards covering financial material issues.

The standards cover 77 industries, and were approved in October following six years of research and market consultation.

SASB said by addressing the subset of sustainability factors most likely to have financial material impacts on the typical company in an industry, it would help investors make more informed decisions.

SASB chair Jeffrey Hales said: “What makes SASB standards unique in the marketplace is their focus on industry specificity and financial materiality, universal concepts that are important to investors and businesses around the world.

“This is an important milestone for global capital markets. Companies and investors around the world now have codified, market-based standards for measuring, managing and reporting on sustainability factors that drive value and affect financial performance.”

The standards were launched shortly after the Corporate Reporting Dialogue (CRD), which the SASB is part of, launched a major alignment project to bring the various reporting frameworks closer together.

The SASB said these standards are well aligned with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and are complementary to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

From now on, the SASB said it would follow a regular multi-year cycle of standards updates to ensure the standards remain relevant and responsive to evolving market needs.