5 Tips to Get Started with Your ESG Benchmark

Top tips to kickstart your DJSI submission
5 Tips to Get Started with Your ESG Benchmark
Publ. date 7 Feb 2020
Now the list of all eligible companies for the 2020 Corporate Sustainability Assessment is revealed, companies are getting ready for the 1st of April, when the new questionnaire will be released. The added value of ESG benchmarking comes from the fact that it provides insights of where your company's sustainability approach is doing well, and which areas are up for of improvement. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index in particular provides a high level of richness in its feedback that can serve as drivers for the internal departments and pointers for the continuous improvement of your program. The overall goal is to accelerate your company's impact through a sustainability program with a clear direction, delivering positive results in the ESG benchmarks as a positive outcome.

5 tips to get started with DJSI 2020

Finch & Beak provides you with 5 things you need to know before the annual DJSI cycle kicks-off again:

1. Check your eligibility and industry classification

Check out the new DJSI universe to find out for which indices your company is eligible in 2020. Additionally, be also sure to check your industry classification, as this impacts your company’s questionnaire structure and peer group. The assigned industry can change if your company has had major developments in its business model or key activities. Spin-offs, mergers, IPOs or other forms of restructuring can also lead to changes in eligibility or industry classification.

2. Engage internal stakeholders & draft project plan

Step 2 is to gather all internal stakeholders for an internal kick-off session in which previous results are shared once again and plans for the upcoming weeks are drafted. Useful tools to develop your company’s project plan are the DJSI program canvas and our summaries of the webcasts hosted by SAM in 2019. Furthermore, S&P Global and RobecoSAM published its 2020 Sustainability Yearbook, which also gives more detailed industry insights since also the absolute scores of all companies are publicly available.

  • DJSI Program CanvasThe canvas is designed to create the big picture on where your sustainability strategy currently is and how it connects with the DJSI criteria in order to identify your company’s improvement potential (based on Company Benchmarking Scorecard results). Part of the process is to rank interventions based on both impact and feasibility, in order to differentiate low hanging fruit from more structural and long-term improvements.  
  • Summaries of 2019 webcasts: Topics included in last year’s webcasts were the ones where SAM applied major updates in the methodology in comparison with the previous assessments. Topics covered were Sustainable Finance, Information Security & Cybersecurity, Privacy Protection, and Living Wage. 

3. Sign-up for the DJSI Expert Training on 5 March in Amsterdam

Together with S&P Global, Finch & Beak will host a DJSI Expert Training which is aimed at delivering in-depth insights and will also shed light on what is expected from participating companies in 2020. The event will focus on topics around Impact Measurement & Valuation, Climate Strategy, and Human Capital. Best practices and practical case studies will be shared by experts and insights will be shared on the recent takeover of SAM’s ESG business by S&P.

4. Prepare for methodology changes in the 2020 assessment

Eligible companies can find (preliminary) methodology developments in the Reports section of their assessment portal as of 20th of February 2020.

5. Get in touch with Finch & Beak

Finch & Beak helps companies with focusing on issues that are key for your company and society, by choosing the right benchmarks, and through efficient ways of reporting. With 15+ years of experience in Dow Jones Sustainability Index support and a long-term collaboration with S&P, Finch & Beak is one of Europe’s leading experts in assisting companies with their submission to ESG benchmarks. Our work for (ex-) industry group leaders is characterized by a pragmatic, 12 month-approach that leverages existing assets in the short term, while identifying opportunities for strategic development in the future.    

If your organization is looking to improve its sustainability performance, please download our service description or contact Josée van der Hoek, Director and DJSI expert at josee@finchandbeak.com or call +31 6 28 02 18 80.

About Bas Nuijten

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

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