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SASB Advocates for XBRL

Posted on July 15, 2016 by Dave Nitchman

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In its response to the SEC regarding the “Concept Release on Business and Financial Disclosure Required by Regulation S-K”, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) pushed the SEC to broaden its use of XBRL.

In response to the question as to how the quality of structured disclosures can be enhanced, SASB called for the voluntary XBRL tagging of sustainability efforts in the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) section of 10-K filings. This is the part of filings where companies present a summary of key drivers, challenges and risks that management has identified as potentially impacting results. SASB also points out the need to have “stronger rules on company-specific extensions for XBRL tagging” in order to achieve better data comparability. This is an issue under close examination by the consortium. The letter is here. (The section on XBRL starts on page 44).

SASB is by no means the only organisation pushing regulators, firms and investors to take a serious look at structured sustainability reporting. It’s been an issue that’s picking up steam on a global level and we anticipate increased cooperation in this area leading to some significant XBRL adoption in the near to mid term.

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