Amanda Medress, Director of Communications, The SASB Foundation – Our Hero and Humble Sustainability Leader

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Amanda Medress, Director of Communications at The SASB Foundation, over the past few years. Her quiet commitment to event sustainability is vital to fulfilling SASB’s mission with the key stakeholders they convene, and if you look at Amanda’s bio, you’ll find she has been focused on sustainability communications throughout her career. She has even written and illustrated an environmental children’s book, “Quaid McQueen, Trash Machine”! Amanda Medress is a Change Agent and our Hero. We are honored to partner with her. Here’s Amanda’s insight about the role and importance of standards in the accounting world:

You’ve recently undergone a name change to The SASB Foundation. Does this represent an industry shift or some other factor?

SASB recently transitioned to a two-tier governance structure comprised of The SASB Foundation and the SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board). The SASB Foundation, which is responsible for governance and fundraising, and delegates standards setting authority to the SASB, an independent board. This transition is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen the independence and rigor of our standards setting activities.

As a relatively new organization (about 6 years), how has your industry changed since SASB’s inception?
When SASB began, the concept of “sustainability accounting” seemed like an oxymoron to many people. Some still believe it’s an oxymoron, but speaking generally, there’s a better understanding of what sustainability accounting is and why it’s important. The field has matured, and there’s now an ecosystem surrounding sustainability disclosure that includes investors, companies, accountants, securities lawyers, data providers, software providers, and others. For one way to learn about sustainability accounting, check out our FSA Credential.

Which stakeholders are the driving force in sustainability accounting standards?
Investors are loud and clear that they want to evaluate the sustainability performance of companies, because they understand that sustainability performance impacts financial returns. In order to evaluate performance, however, investors need data. Getting comparable, high-quality data requires a market standard. Many investors—including those in SASB’s Investor Advisory Group—believe SASB standards will result in better data that helps them make better decisions.

What is the biggest obstacle still to be overcome?
SASB is currently in the process of codifying its standards for 79 industries. When the codified standards are published in the first quarter of next year, then comes the hard work of getting companies to use the standards in their mandatory filings. Currently, our ask of companies is provide feedback on the standards in the public comment period starting in September, and to begin evaluating what it will take to integrate SASB standards into existing disclosure processes.

How does your Annual Symposium reflect the organization’s commitment to sustainability?
SASB sits at the unique intersection of sustainability, accounting, finance, and law. The Symposium is a unique opportunity to bring this cross-section together, and to help foster the connections and learning that will help this emerging field grow.

About The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

The SASB Foundation supports the work of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), an internationally-respected standards setter that helps companies communicate their sustainability performance to investors in a decision-useful way. Needless to say, we at MeetGreen, are fans. We’ve been measuring sustainability initiatives since we started in the business, and we appreciate organizations that elevate measurement and standardization to new heights.