Schapiro and Bloomberg take helm at Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

Major boost as senior capital market figures join SASB

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Schapiro have been appointed chair and vice chair respectively of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the not-for-profit body which promotes sustainability standards for US listed companies.

The appointments were announced in a statement and represent a major coup for San Francisco-based SASB, which already has Schapiro’s successor as SEC chief, Elisse Walter, on its board.

Other heavy hitters on the board include Jack Ehnes, chief executive of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and Peter Knight, one of the founding partners of sustainable boutique Generation Investment Management.

By the end of 2014, SASB aims to have issued 45 sets of industry standards; by the beginning of 2016 this number will rise to more than 80, SASB founder and CEO Jean Rogers said in an article for Responsible Investor last month.

Robert Eccles, the respected Harvard Business School professor and SASB’s first chairman, will remain on the board, focusing on harmonizing SASB with “other sustainability and integrated reporting organizations”.“More than 30 years ago I started a company on the idea that greater market transparency leads to better investment decisions, and that idea is at the heart of SASB’s mission,” said Bloomberg, founder of the news and data giant. “The more complete and reliable the information that investors have, the better markets work—and that benefits not only individual investors but all of society.”

“Markets work best when they offer investors access to material information that supports informed decisions,” added Schapiro.

Rogers said she was “deeply confident” in the duo’s ability to make SASB the leading standards setter for material sustainability information.

With SASB now issuing standards, Eccles said the next challenge was to encourage their adoption and use by corporations and investors. Bloomberg and Schapiro, given their influence in the capital markets, were perfect for this task.

Shawn Lytle, Head of Americas at UBS Global Asset Management, was also named to SASB’s board. Last month SASB named Matthew Welch as its new Chief Operating Officer.