Methodology Changes for the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index

More business integration in RobecoSAM's Corporate Sustainability Assessment
Methodology Changes for the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index
Publ. date 14 Mar 2017
On March 30th, RobecoSAM will open its annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment: the base for selecting the best-performing companies for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). More than 3,200 eligible companies have received an invitation to participate in the 2017 DJSI assessment.To prevent surprises, participating companies are advised to take note of the announced changes for this year’s methodology, before deep-diving into the questionnaire.

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Update: DJSI methodology changes for 2018 available now

RobecoSAM constantly raises the bar for performance by continuously developing the Corporate Sustainability Assessment. As of last year, RobecoSAM started to collaborate with Bloomberg and information on DJSI results will also be visible through the Bloomberg terminal. Furthermore, all invited companies will be assessed by RobecoSAM implying that companies that do not actively participate, will be assessed based on public information only. And what's more: the relative scores will be published in the Bloomberg terminal.

This year’s most radical change is the emergence of a new criterion for all industries on Policy Influence. Major revisions are found in questions on Product Stewardship, Supply Chain Management, and Impact Measurement & Valuation. Next to this, parts of questions in the criteria of Human Capital Development, Corporate Governance, Customer Relationship Management, and Labor Practice Indicators & Human Rights are being deleted.

Highlighted changes for the 2017 Corporate Sustainability Assessment

Policy Influence The aim of this newly introduced question is to assess companies on their contributions towards political organizations and beyond. Contributions and expenditures to lobbying and trade groups are also included in this criterion. An integral element of this question is the degree towards companies disclose this information in the public domain.

Product Stewardship: To reflect upon a company’s understanding of sustainability challenges, the integration of sustainable practices into new product development is essential. Questions on this subject focus on Life Cycle Analysis, product design, take-back schemes, and initiatives to promote product stewardship among stakeholders. Furthermore, RobecoSAM is shifting the paradigm more towards quantitative data rather than qualitative data.

Supply Chain Management: Companies need to find and develop new strategies to manages risks and opportunities in their supply chain. Therefore, it is highly important to have an understanding on your critical tear 1 suppliers, but also to focus on non-tier 1 suppliers that are critical to your business. A link that companies continuously need to make is to use sustainable supply chain management as an opportunity to improve long-term financial performance.

Impact Measurement & Valuation: This criterion was introduced in 2016 in a limited number of industries. For this year’s assessment, the scope of the criterion has expanded and 57 industries are impacted by this set of questions. It is key for organizations to measure and value their impact on the environment and society. Within this question, RobecoSAM assesses companies based on their process towards measuring impact on company’s externalitieslooking for a broad focus on externalities rather than focusing deeply on one.

Finch & Beak support services

Our work is characterized by our results-driven Time2Value method that leverages existing assets in the short term, while identifying opportunities for structural improvement in the future. The success of our approach is proven by the inclusion of all our 2016 DJSI customers in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index with more than half of them ranked in the top 1% of their industry. A summary of how we can help you accelerate performance:

-ACCELERATION WORKSHOP: To enhance your ESG benchmarking, your team is guided through a “pressure cooker”. After a few days of data analysis and a 2-day workshop the value proposition of your participation, the basics of change management and the design of an action plan will be the main deliverables.

-CUSTOMIZED ESG BENCHMARKING SUPPORT: Based on your company’s actual needs, ambitions and internal capacity, Finch & Beak supports you throughout the benchmarking  process. We optimize programs and subsequently scores, and provide you with a long-term roadmap to accelerate your sustainability program.

-TURNKEY ESG BENCHMARKING SOLUTIONS: In case your company is not able or willing to invest capacity into the submission process, Finch & Beak can take over your entire project management on an interim basis. In this role, we engage with your stakeholders, fill out the entire questionnaire, collect data and supporting documentation, and manage the required sign-off activities.

-DJSI READINESS ASSESSMENT: Typically conducted during the summer,  we  work with your team to assess your DJSI submission process. Your result is an optimized approach that addresses bottlenecks and leverages success factors.

We support companies in avoiding the reporting trap with a focus on issues that are key for your company and society, and through efficient ways of reporting. With almost 15 years of experience in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, support and a long-term collaboration with RobecoSAM, Finch & Beak has become Europe’s leading expert in assisting companies with their submission to ESG benchmarks. Interested in our support? Please download the DJSI brochure or contact Josée van der Hoek, Director, at josee@finchandbeak.com or +31 6 28 02 18 80.

Image source: Robert Couse-Baker

About Bas Nuijten

Sustainability professional aiming to help organizations to continuously improve their sustainability strategies. | 
bas@finchandbeak.com

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