Prepare for the 2020 DJSI Questionnaire

Methodology changes for this year's Corporate Sustainability Assessment
Prepare for the 2020 DJSI Questionnaire
Publ. date 9 mrt 2020
On Wednesday 1 April S&P Global will open its annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment. This questionnaire is the basis for selecting the best-performing companies for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). Every year, S&P Global assesses over 7,500 companies around the world on industry-specific and financially material ESG topics. To be ready to start your required preparation, check out our summary of announced changes for this year's methodology.

Downloads

Every year, S&P Global raises the bar in order to identify best-in-class companies that outperform their peers by demonstrating sustainability best practices. This year’s most important changes are found in the field of Sustainable Finance, Information Security & Cybersecurity, Privacy Protection, Innovation Management, Product Stewardship, and Packaging. Next to this, the Impact Valuation criterion will remain part of the Future Questions section, similar to last year.

In terms of deletions, the questions on quantitative data within Environmental and Social Reporting are deleted for all industries. The criterion of Supply Chain Management is no longer applicable to the Professional Services (PRO) industry.

Highlighted changes for the 2020 CSA

Privacy Protection: This question will be new for three industries and is applicable to a total of 32 industries. The questions focus on the coverage of companies’ privacy policies and the mechanisms in place to ensure their effective implementation. Furthermore, it looks at breaches of customer privacy. Compared to last year, the layout of the questions has been changed in order to enhance clarity.

Information Security & Cybersecurity: The criterion focuses on how well-prepared companies are to prevent major information security/cybersecurity incidents and if they can react appropriately in case of an attack. Next to this, it evaluates whether companies have experienced information security/cybersecurity incidents in the past and what the financial consequences were. Similarly, to the Privacy Protection criterion, the layout of this criterion has been updated in order to increase clarity and nuanced disclosure.

Sustainable Finance: This criterion applies to just three industries (FBN, BNK, and INS) and changes are found in the section on project finance where the threshold of 5% of revenues has been removed. Furthermore, the layout for the question 'Products and Services' has been adjusted in order to provide companies with the option to give a breakdown of ESG products and corresponding volumes that these products represent.

Innovation Management: The changes in this criterion are applicate to four industries (BTG, DRG, LIF, and MTC). The former questions on R&D Core or Basic Research, R&D Ideation or Applied Research, R&D Development Stages, and R&D Launch are now merged into one sub-question called 'R&D Breakdown by Innovation'.

Product Stewardship: Two questions have been modified: Use of Recycled and Sustainably Sourced Materials and Hazardous Substances. Both questions are now more data-driven as companies are asked to provide the amount of packaging material used as well as the percentage of recycled packaging. Next to the this, the question on Hazardous Substances asks companies to provide their revenues from products that contain these substances. The changes are applicable to four industries (CTR, CHM, COS, HOU).

Genetically Modified Organisms: This criterion is updated for the Food and Beverage related industries (BVG, FDR, FOA, REX) and analyzes a company’s GMO exposure, the company’s public statement on GMOs and the percentage of revenues derived from GMO products.

Packaging: This criterion assesses whether companies’ packaging strategies include environmental considerations and risk factors related to unsustainable packaging practices. Moreover, the updated questions evaluate whether companies monitor the amounts of different types of packaging used where a focus on plastic packaging is applied. These changes apply to a total of 12 industries.

Access to Cost Burden: This criterion focuses on the BTG and DRG industries where the question on fair pricing is shortened. It now only focuses on the weighted percentage year-over-year change in the average list price and the average net price.

Please refer to the download at the top of the page for more information and background on this year's methodology changes.

How Finch & Beak can help you

With over 15 years of experience in Dow Jones Sustainability Index support, and a long-term collaboration with S&P Global, Finch & Beak has become Europe’s leading expert 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. Interested in our support? Please have a look at our Dow Jones Sustainability Index service description or contact Josée van der Hoek, Director, at josee@finchandbeak.com or call her at +34 6 82 04 83 01.

Image source: TTFCA, Flickr

About Bas Nuijten

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