ESG Learning in Action: 2021 Dow Jones Sustainability Index Results

Expansion of ESG transparency calls for activation of sustainability programs
ESG Learning in Action: 2021 Dow Jones Sustainability Index Results
Publ. date 12 Nov 2021
On Friday the 12th of November, S&P Dow Jones Indices announced the results of the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) review. Alphabet, Medtronic, bioMérieux, Warehouses De Pauw and Sika are new members in 2021’s DJSI Indices, while Nestlé, Dow and Danone have lost their spots in the World Index. As ESG transparency is increasing, activation of corporate sustainability programs is an essential factor for success.

Sign up for the webinar on Tuesday 30 November to learn more about activating your ESG analysis

No more DJSI Industry Leaders

Breaking with tradition, as of this year S&P Global is no longer announcing DJSI Industry Leaders. The rater has observed that scores are reaching high levels of maturity and the gaps between companies are getting smaller and smaller. S&P Global is therefore now only acknowledging groups of top-performing companies and will highlight those leading in their industry in the forthcoming Sustainability Yearbook, to be published early 2022. A bit more patience therefore is required in this area.

Major expansion of the group of companies invited for participation in the CSA

Pushing for further transparency on ESG and embedding these data into investors’ decision making processes, S&P Global has significantly expanded the number of companies invited to participate in its Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA). A total of almost 11,000 companies have been invited to participate in 2021, of which approximately 5,000 are eligible for inclusion in the DJSI and other S&P ESG Indices. This group of companies now has access to its individual results and can benchmark itself against the industry.

So far this year, 1,843 companies have actively participated in the CSA, an increase of 33% compared to last year. While the number of participating companies is highest in the Asia Pacific region, CSA-participation in North America has exceeded that in Europe for the first time in 2021. According to S&P Global, the total group of CSA participants to date represents 45% of the global market cap.

Industries with the highest active participation rates are Hotels, Resorts & Cruiselines (61%), Gas Utilities (60%), Insurance (54%), and Building Products (51%). Across the globe, the United States is most strongly represented with 395 participating companies, followed by Japan (190) and the United Kingdom (101). 

On top of the group of companies eligible for inclusion in the DJSI and other S&P ESG Indices, a further 6,000 companies have been invited to participate in the CSA for wider capital market interest. Their assessment period is still ongoing, with the deadline for submission being 13 January 2022, and announcement of the results at the end of March 2022.

For more background, please refer to the DJSI 2021 press release, the DJSI 2021 Review presentation with main additions and deletions and background on the CSA results as published by S&P Global.

Leveraging ESG results for sustainability activation

As ESG transparency is increasing, the need for activation of sustainability programs becomes more pressing. After all, a company’s ESG score can only be as good as its overall sustainability approach. And with the spotlight shining on a much larger group of companies, those that have been flying under the radar will have to step up now, too.

In November 2021, Finch & Beak conducted a survey to explore the approach that companies are taking towards ESG ratings, and to find out how such ratings contribute to the successful activation of sustainability programs.

Initial results of the survey outcomes show that while most companies have implemented tools to measure and steer their sustainability efforts, human-centered instruments such as supplier engagement and employee training are lagging behind in adoption. The ESG activation toolbox may need to be further expanded if companies are looking to gain better results. Read this article to find out more about the initial outcomes of the survey and sign up for the webinar on Tuesday 30 November to hear the full results.

Here are three resources that come highly recommended to help you activate your ESG outcomes:

  1. Acceleration Tips for Materiality Activation
    Download these 3 tips for materiality activation and leverage your matrix to improve your ESG results.
  2. Self-assess your ESG program
    Take the ESG Acceleration Scan, a self-assessment tool that provides key insights into your company’s ESG program.
  3. Join the conversation
    Sign up for the ESG Activation Webinar on Tuesday 30th of November to learn more about fine-tuning ESG programs and smoothening their implementation.

Finch & Beak helps you to accelerate results from ESG benchmarking

With almost 25 years of experience in sustainability and ESG, Finch & Beak is Europe’s leading expert in building improving our clients’ sustainability strategy and ESG program performance.

From the Finch & Beak company purpose to accelerate sustainability, we are supporting clients around the globe. Our ESG and sustainability strategy work is characterized by a continuous improvement method that leverages existing assets in the short term while identifying opportunities for strategic development in the future.

If your organization is looking to accelerate its sustainability performance, download our service description or contact Josée van der Hoek, Director and DJSI expert at or call +34 682 048 301.

Photo by Victor on Unsplash

About Nikkie Vinke

Multidisciplinary advisor in ESG benchmarking, sustainability strategy development and execution. |

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