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Consumer Goods 7 Industries
Apparel, Accessories & Footwear
The Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry includes companies involved in the design, manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing of various products, including men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, handbags, jewelry, watches, and footwear. Products are largely manufactured by vendors in emerging markets, thereby allowing companies in the industry to primarily focus on design, wholesaling, marketing, supply chain management, and retail activities. See Disclosure Topics
Appliance Manufacturing
The Appliance Manufacturing industry includes companies involved in the design and manufacturing of household appliances and hand tools. The industry sells and manufactures products around the world, primarily selling products to consumers through retail locations. See Disclosure Topics
Building Products & Furnishings
The Building Products & Furnishings industry comprises companies involved in the design and manufacturing of home improvement products, home and office furnishings, and structural wood building materials. The industry’s products include flooring, ceiling tiles, home and office furniture and fixtures, wood trusses, plywood, paneling, and lumber. Companies typically sell their products through distribution channels to retail stores or through independent or company-owned dealerships. See Disclosure Topics
The E-Commerce industry is composed of firms that provide an online marketplace for other firms or individuals to sell their goods and services, as well as retailers and wholesalers that provide an exclusively web-based platform for consumers to buy goods and services. Firms in this industry sell to consumers as well as to other businesses. Because of the accessibility of e-commerce sites, the industry is a global marketplace for buyers and sellers. Note: The industry scope exclusively applies to “pure-play” e-commerce operations and does not address the manufacturing or brick-and-mortar retail operations of companies. Many consumer goods manufacturers and retailers have incorporated, or are in the process of incorporating, an e-commerce component to their business. SASB has separate standards for the Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors (CG-MR); Apparel, Accessories & Footwear (CG-AA); and Toys & Sporting Goods (CG-TS) industries. Depending on the specific activities and operations of firms in the aforementioned industries, disclosure topics and accounting metrics associated with the E-Commerce industry standard may also be relevant. See Disclosure Topics
Household & Personal Products
The Household & Personal Products industry comprises companies that manufacture a wide range of goods for personal and commercial consumption, including cosmetics, household and industrial cleaning supplies, soaps and detergents, sanitary paper products, household batteries, razors, and kitchen utensils. Household and personal products companies operate globally and typically sell their products to mass merchants, grocery stores, membership club stores, drug stores, high-frequency stores, distributors, and e-commerce retailers. Some companies sell products through independent representatives rather than third-party retail establishments. See Disclosure Topics
Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors
The Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors industry encompasses a variety of retailing categories such as department stores, mass merchants, home products stores, and warehouse clubs, as well as a smaller segment of distributors like electronics wholesalers and automotive wholesalers. Common to these companies (except for the distribution segment) is that they manage global supply chains to anticipate consumer demands, keep costs low, and keep products stocked in their brick-and-mortar storefronts. This is a highly competitive industry, in which each company category generally has a small number of key players, characterized by generally low margins. The relatively substitutable nature of retail makes companies in this industry especially susceptible to reputational risks. See Disclosure Topics
Toys & Sporting Goods
The Toys & Sporting Goods industry comprises two distinct segments that produce leisure products: companies that manufacture toys and games, and companies that manufacture sporting and athletic goods, such as bicycles, golf clubs, fitness equipment, and other similar products. Companies in this industry primarily sell their products to consumers through retail stores. The level of manufacturing integration varies among and within segments of the industry; manufacturing is based primarily in Asia, with China accounting for a majority of production. See Disclosure Topics
Extractives & Minerals Processing 8 Industries
Coal Operations
The Coal Operations industry includes companies that mine coal and those that manufacture coal products. Mining activity covers both underground and surface mining, and thermal and metallurgical coal. See Disclosure Topics
Construction Materials
Construction materials companies have global operations and produce construction materials for sale to construction firms or wholesale distributors. These primarily include cement and aggregates, but also glass, plastic materials, insulation, bricks, and roofing material. Materials producers operate their own quarries, mining crushed stone or sand and gravel. They may also purchase raw materials from the mining and petroleum industries. See Disclosure Topics
Iron & Steel Producers
The Iron & Steel Producers industry consists of steel producers with iron and steel mills and companies with iron and steel foundries. The steel producers segment consists of companies that produce iron and steel products from their own mills. These products include flat-rolled sheets, tin plates, pipes, tubes, and products made of stainless steel, titanium, and high alloy steels. Iron and steel foundries, which cast various products, typically purchase iron and steel from other firms. The industry also includes metal service centers and other metal merchant wholesalers, which distribute, import, or export ferrous products. Steel production occurs via two primary methods: the Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF), which uses iron ore as an input, and the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF), which uses scrap steel. Many companies in the industry operate on an international scale. Note: With a few exceptions, most companies do not mine their own ore to manufacture steel and iron products. There are separate SASB standards for the (EM-MM) industry. See Disclosure Topics
Metals & Mining
The Metals & Mining industry is involved in extracting metals and minerals, producing ores, quarrying stones, smelting and manufacturing metals, refining metals, and providing mining support activities. It also produces iron ores, rare earth metals, and precious metals and stones. Larger companies in this industry are vertically integrated – from mining across global operations to wholesaling metals to customers. See Disclosure Topics
Oil & Gas – Exploration & Production
(E&P) companies explore for, extract, or produce energy products such as crude oil and natural gas, which comprise the upstream operations of the oil and gas value chain. Companies in the industry develop conventional and unconventional oil and gas reserves; these include, but are not limited to, shale oil and/or gas reserves, oil sands, and gas hydrates. Activities covered by this standard include the development of both on-shore and off-shore reserves. The E&P industry creates contracts with the industry to conduct several E&P activities and to obtain equipment and oilfield services. See Disclosure Topics
Oil & Gas – Midstream
The industry consists of companies involved in the transportation or storage of natural gas, crude oil, and refined petroleum products. Midstream natural gas activities involve gathering, transport, and processing of natural gas from the wellhead, as well as the removal of impurities, production of natural gas liquids, storage, pipeline transport, and shipping, liquefaction, or regasification of liquefied natural gas. Midstream oil activities mainly involve transport of crude oil and refined products over land, using a network of pipes and pumping stations, as well as trucks and rail cars, and over seas and rivers via tanker ships or barges. Companies that operate bulk stations and terminals, as well as those that manufacture and install storage tanks and pipelines, are also part of this industry. See Disclosure Topics
Oil & Gas – Refining & Marketing
(R&M) companies refine petroleum products, market oil and gas products, and/ or operate gas stations and convenience stores, all of which comprise the downstream operations of the oil and gas value chain. The types of refinery products and crude oil inputs influence the complexity of the refining process used, with different expenditure needs and intensity of environmental and social impacts. See Disclosure Topics
Oil & Gas – Services
Oil and gas services companies provide support services, manufacture equipment, or are contract drillers for oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P) companies. The drilling and drilling-support segment comprises companies that drill for oil and natural gas on-shore and off-shore on a contract basis. Companies in this segment may also manufacture jack-up rigs, semisubmersible rigs, and drill ships. Companies in the oilfield services segment manufacture equipment that is used in the extraction, storage, and transportation of oil and natural gas. They also provide support services such as seismic surveying, equipment rental, well cementing, and well monitoring. These services are commonly provided on a contractual basis, and the customer will purchase or lease the materials and equipment from the service provider. Service companies may also provide personnel or subject matter expertise as part of their scope of service. The contractual relationship between oil and gas services companies and their customers plays a significant role in determining the material impacts of their sustainability performance. Besides the rates charged, companies compete on the basis of their operational and safety performance, technology and process offerings, and reputation. See Disclosure Topics
Financials 7 Industries
Asset Management & Custody Activities
The Asset Management & Custody Activities industry is comprised of companies that manage investment portfolios on a commission or fee basis for institutional, retail, and high net-worth investors. In addition, firms in this industry provide wealth management, private banking, financial planning, and investment advisory and retail securities brokerage services. Investment portfolios and strategies may be diversified across multiple asset classes, which include, but are not limited to, equities, fixed income, and hedge fund investments. Specific companies are engaged in venture capital and private equity investments. The industry provides an essential service in assisting a range of customers from individual retail investors to large, institutional asset owners to meet specified investment goals. Companies in the industry range from large multi-national asset managers with a wide range of investable products, strategies, and asset classes to small boutique firms providing services to a very specific market niche. While large firms generally compete on the basis of management fees charged for their services as well as their potential to generate superior investment performance, the smaller firms generally compete on their ability to provide products and services geared towards individual clients to satisfy their diversification needs. The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent regulatory developments highlight the social impact of the industry in terms of providing fair advice to customers and managing risks at the entity, portfolio, and economy-wide levels. In addition, the collective impact of the industry on the allocation of capital creates a responsibility to integrate sustainability factors in investment decisions and management. See Disclosure Topics
Commercial Banks
Commercial banks accept deposits and make loans to individuals and corporations as well as engage in lending for infrastructure, real estate, and other projects. By providing these services, the industry serves an essential role in the functioning of global economies and in facilitating the transfer of financial resources to their most productive capacity. The industry is driven by the volume of deposits, quality of loans made, the economic environment, and interest rates. It is further characterized by risk from mismatched assets and liabilities. The regulatory environment that governs the commercial banking industry saw significant changes in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and continues to evolve today. These and other regulatory trends have the potential to impact shareholder value and sustainability performance. Commercial banks with global operations must manage new regulations in multiple jurisdictions that are creating regulatory uncertainty, particularly around consistent application of new rules. See Disclosure Topics
Consumer Finance
The Consumer Finance industry provides loans to consumers. The largest segment of the industry is comprised of revolving credit loans through credit card products. Additional loan services include auto, micro lending, and student loans. Some companies in the industry also provide consumer-to-consumer money transfers, money orders, prepaid debit cards, and bill payment services. Industry performance is determined by consumer spending, rates of unemployment, per capita GDP, income, and population growth. Recent shifts toward consumer protection and transparency have aligned and will continue to align the interests of society with those of long-term investors. Companies that effectively manage their social capital will therefore be better positioned to maximize their financial capital. See Disclosure Topics
The Insurance industry provides both traditional and nontraditional insurance-related products. Traditional policy lines include property, life, casualty, and reinsurance. Nontraditional products include annuities, alternative risk transfers, and financial guarantees. Companies in the insurance industry also engage in proprietary investments. Insurance companies generally operate within a single segment in the industry, e.g., property and casualty, although there are some large insurance companies with diversified operations. Similarly, companies may vary based on the level of their geographic segmentation. While large companies may underwrite insurance premiums in multiple countries, smaller companies generally operate at a national or even local level. Insurance premiums, underwriting revenue, and investment income drive industry growth, while insurance claim payments present the most significant cost and source of uncertainty for profits. Insurance companies provide products and services that enable the transfer, pooling, and sharing of risk necessary for a well-functioning economy. Insurance companies, through their products, can also create a form of moral hazard, lowering incentives to improve underlying behavior and performance, and thus contributing to sustainability impacts. Similar to other financial institutions, insurance companies face risks associated with credit and financial markets. Within the industry, companies that engage in non-traditional or non-insurance activities, including credit default swaps (CDS) protection and debt securities insurance, have been identified by regulators as being more vulnerable to financial market developments, and subsequently, more likely to amplify or contribute to systemic risk. As a result, insurance companies face the potential of being designated as Systemically Important Financial Institutions, thus exposing them to enhanced regulation and oversight. See Disclosure Topics
Investment Banking & Brokerage
The Investment Banking & Brokerage industry consists of firms performing a wide range of functions in the capital markets, including assisting with the capital-raising and allocation process, and providing market-making and advisory services for corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high net-worth individuals. Specific activities include financial advisory and securities underwriting services conducted on a fee basis; securities and commodities brokerage activities, which involves buying and selling securities or commodities contracts and options on a commission or fee basis for investors; and trading and principal investment activities, which involves the buying and selling of equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, and other securities for client-driven and proprietary trading. Investment banks also originate and securitize loans for infrastructure and other projects. Companies in the industry generate their revenues from global markets and, therefore, are exposed to various regulatory environments. The industry continues to face regulatory pressure to reform and disclose aspects of operations that present systemic risks. Specifically, firms are facing new capital requirements, stress testing, limits on proprietary trading, and increased scrutiny on compensation practices. See Disclosure Topics
Mortgage Finance
The Mortgage Finance industry provides an essential public good in enabling consumers to purchase homes, and contributes to the overall home ownership rate. Companies in the industry lend capital to individual and commercial customers with property as collateral. The primary products are residential and commercial mortgages, while other services offered include: mortgage servicing, title insurance, closing and settlement services, and valuation. In addition, mortgage finance firms own, manage, and finance real estate related investments such as mortgage pass-through certificates and collateralized mortgage obligations. Recent trends in the regulatory environment indicate a significant shift toward consumer protection, disclosure, and accountability. Legislation passed in response to the 2008 mortgage crisis demonstrates the potential for further alignment between the interests of society and those of long-term investors. See Disclosure Topics
Security & Commodity Exchanges
Security and commodity exchanges operate marketplaces in the form of physical trading floors or electronic platforms for trading financial securities, commodities, or other financial instruments. Companies in the industry primarily generate revenue from fees on trades and for clearing transactions as well as listing fees. Competition for fees continues to increase with the advent of alternative trading platforms that offer less expensive trades and provide listing services. Recent trends in the regulatory environment suggest a greater focus on transparency, risk management, and market stability. As new policies and market transformations encourage more responsible management of social capital and strong governance, firms that can address all forms of capital—not just financial—will be better positioned to protect shareholder value in the future. See Disclosure Topics
Food & Beverage 8 Industries
Agricultural Products
The Agricultural Products industry is engaged in processing, trading, and distributing vegetables and fruits, and producing and milling agricultural commodities such as grains, sugar, consumable oils, maize, soybeans, and animal feed. Agricultural products are sold directly to consumers and to businesses for use in consumer and industrial products. Companies in the industry typically purchase agricultural products from entities that grow such products (either directly or indirectly) to then conduct value-adding activities (e.g., processing, trading, distributing, and milling). Agricultural products companies are also involved in wholesale and distribution. Companies in the industry may source a substantial portion of agricultural commodities from third-party growers in various countries. Therefore, managing sustainability risks within the supply chain is critical to securing a reliable supply of raw materials and reducing the risk of price increases and volatility over the long term. See Disclosure Topics
Alcoholic Beverages
The Alcoholic Beverages industry includes companies that brew, distill, and manufacture various alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and liquor. Companies in this industry transform agricultural products, including sugar, barley, and corn, into finished alcoholic beverages. The largest companies have global operations, with portfolios of numerous branded products. Levels of vertical integration within the industry vary due to regulation in different markets. Breweries generally have multiple manufacturing facilities to provide access to different markets, while vintners and distillers are typically located where they have a history of production. See Disclosure Topics
Food Retailers & Distributors
The Food Retailers & Distributors industry consists of companies engaged in wholesale and retail sales of food, beverage, and agricultural products. Store formats include retail supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse supermarkets, liquor stores, bakeries, natural food stores, specialty food stores, seafood stores, and distribution centers. Companies may specialize in one type of store format or have facilities that contain multiple formats. Products are typically sourced worldwide and include fresh meat and produce, prepared foods, processed foods, baked goods, frozen and canned foods, nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages, and a wide selection of household goods and personal care products. See Disclosure Topics
Meat, Poultry & Dairy
The Meat, Poultry & Dairy industry produces raw and processed animal products, including meats, eggs, and dairy products, for human and animal consumption. Key activities include animal raising, slaughtering, processing, and packaging. The industry’s largest companies have international operations, and companies are vertically integrated to varying degrees, depending on the type of animal produced. Large industry operators typically rely on contract or independent farmers to supply their animals, and may have varying degrees of control over their operations. The industry sells products primarily to the Processed Foods industry and to retail distributors that distribute finished products to key end markets including restaurants, livestock and pet feed consumers, and grocery retailers. See Disclosure Topics
Non-Alcoholic Beverages
The Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry produces a broad range of beverage products, including various carbonated soft drinks, syrup concentrates, juices, energy and sport drinks, teas, coffee, and water products. The industry is dominated by large, international companies. Companies partake in syrup manufacturing, marketing, bottling operations, and distribution, with larger companies typically being more vertically integrated into operations that bottle, sell, and distribute the finished products. See Disclosure Topics
Processed Foods
The Processed Foods industry includes companies that process and package foods such as bread, frozen foods, snack foods, pet foods, and condiments for retail consumer consumption. Typically, these products are made ready to consume, are marketed for retail consumers, and can be found on food retailers’ shelves. The industry is characterized by large and complex ingredient supply chains, as many companies source ingredients from around the world. Large companies operate globally, and international opportunities are driving growth. See Disclosure Topics
Companies in the Restaurants industry prepare meals, snacks, and beverages to customers’ orders for immediate on- and off-premises consumption. Broadly divided into three sub-categories, the restaurant industry includes limited-service eating places, casual full-service eating places, and upscale full-service eating places. Limited-service restaurants provide services to customers who order and pay before eating. Fast-food restaurants represent the largest share of the limited-service restaurants segment. Full-service restaurants offer more service, food for consumption primarily on-premise, and typically reflect higher quality food and prices. See Disclosure Topics
The Tobacco industry is comprised of companies that manufacture tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco products. Many large tobacco companies operate globally. Companies may obtain or sell exclusive rights to sell certain brands of cigarettes in diverse markets. Most tobacco is grown by independent tobacco farmers, who typically sell their crops to tobacco merchants or to manufacturers under contract. See Disclosure Topics
Health Care 6 Industries
Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals
The Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry develops, manufactures, and markets a range of brand-name and generic medications. A significant portion of the industry is driven by research and development, a high risk of product failure during clinical trials, and the need to obtain regulatory approval. Concerns over pricing practices and consolidation within the sector have created downward pricing pressures. Demand for the industry’s products is largely driving by population demographics, rates of insurance coverage, disease profiles, and economic conditions. See Disclosure Topics
Drug Retailers
The Drug Retailers industry comprises companies that operate retail pharmacies and distribution centers that supply retail stores. Stores may be company-owned or franchised. Large companies operate mainly in the U.S. and source drugs and other merchandise through wholesalers and distributors. The majority of the industry’s revenues are derived from consumer sales of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products; other goods sold include household goods, personal care products, and a limited selection of groceries. Additionally, the pharmacy retailer segment is expanding its health-focused services by offering clinics at various retail locations, which adds to the industry’s shifting sustainability landscape. See Disclosure Topics
Health Care Delivery
The Health Care Delivery industry owns and manages hospitals, clinics, and other health care-related facilities. Companies provide a range of services, including inpatient and outpatient care, surgery, mental health, rehabilitation, and clinical laboratory services. Demand for health care delivery services is driven largely by rates of insurance coverage, demographics, illness, and injury rates. The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) increased the number of individuals with insurance, however, the future of this legislation remains uncertain. The industry is characterized by high fixed labor and facilities costs, and an increased regulatory emphasis on reduced costs of care and improved outcomes. Health care delivery companies also face significant competition for patients and resources from private, nonprofit, and religious health care systems. See Disclosure Topics
Health Care Distributors
Health care distributors purchase, inventory, and sell pharmaceutical products and medical equipment to hospitals, pharmacies, and physicians. Demand for the industry’s services is driven largely by rates of insurance, pharmaceutical spending, illness, and demographics. Increased enrollment in government insurance programs under the U.S Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, electronic health records, and consolidation throughout the Health Care sector will likely continue to shape the industry. The health care sector continues to face an emphasis on reduced costs and improved efficiencies, which will also impact the Health Care Distributors industry. Companies in this industry face challenges from consolidation and partnerships between pharmacies, payers, and manufacturers. See Disclosure Topics
Managed Care
The Managed Care industry offers health insurance products for individual, commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid members. Companies also provide administrative services and network access for self-funded insurance plans and manage pharmacy benefits. Enrollment in managed care has traditionally been correlated with employment rates, while revenues are driven by the inflation of medical costs. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reduced the percentage of uninsured adults, and created additional demand for the industry’s plans. However, legislative uncertainty and a focus on reducing health care costs may create downward pricing pressure and continue to drive consolidation within the industry. In addition, a focus on patient outcomes and plan performance continue to shape the industry’s sustainability risks and opportunities.  See Disclosure Topics
Medical Equipment & Supplies
The Medical Equipment & Supplies industry researches, develops, and produces medical, surgical, dental, ophthalmic, and veterinary instruments and devices. Products are used in settings, including hospitals, clinics, and laboratories, and range from disposable items to highly specialized equipment. The increased prevalence of diseases associated with unhealthy lifestyles and an aging population are important factors that may impact growth in this industry. Emerging markets and the expansion of health insurance in the U.S. will contribute to further growth. However, the extension of government insurance programs, provider and payer consolidation, and regulatory emphasis on reduced costs in all markets may result in downward pricing pressure. See Disclosure Topics
Infrastructure 8 Industries
Electric Utilities & Power Generators
The Electric Utilities & Power Generators industry is made up of companies that generate electricity; build, own, and operate transmission and distribution (T&D) lines; and sell electricity. Utilities generate electricity from a number of different sources, commonly including coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, hydropower, solar, wind, and other renewable and fossil fuel energy sources. The industry comprises companies operating in both regulated and unregulated business structures. Regulated utilities maintain a business model in which they accept comprehensive oversight from regulators on their pricing mechanisms and their allowed return on equity, among other types of regulation, in exchange for their license to operate as a monopoly. Unregulated companies, or merchant power companies, are often independent power producers (IPPs) that generate electricity to sell to the wholesale market, which includes regulated utility buyers and other end-users. Furthermore, the industry is divided across regulated and deregulated power markets—referring to how far up the value chain regulated utility operations span. Regulated markets typically contain vertically integrated utilities that own and operate everything from the generation of power to its retail distribution. Deregulated markets commonly split generation from distribution, designed to encourage competition at the wholesale power level. Overall, companies in the industry are challenged with the complex mission of providing reliable, accessible, low-cost power while balancing the protection of human life and the environment. See Disclosure Topics
Engineering & Construction Services
The Engineering & Construction Services industry provides engineering, construction, design, consulting, contracting, and other related services that support various building and infrastructure projects. The industry is primarily made up of four major segments: engineering services, infrastructure construction, non-residential building construction, and building sub-contractors and construction-related professional services. The infrastructure construction segment includes companies that design and/or build infrastructure projects such as power plants, dams, oil and gas pipelines, refineries, highways, bridges, tunnels, railways, ports, airports, waste treatment plants, water networks, and stadiums. The non-residential building construction segment includes companies that design and/or build industrial and commercial facilities such as factories, warehouses, data centers, offices, hotels, hospitals, universities, and retail spaces like malls. The engineering services segment includes companies that provide specialized architectural and engineering services such as design and development of feasibility studies for many of the project types listed above. Finally, the building sub-contractors and other construction-related professional services segment includes smaller companies that provide ancillary services such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, painting, waterproofing, landscaping, interior design, and building inspection. The industry’s customers include infrastructure owners and developers in the public and private sectors. Large companies in this industry operate and generate revenue globally and typically specialize in multiple segments. See Disclosure Topics
Gas Utilities & Distributors
The Gas Utilities & Distributors industry is made up of gas distribution and marketing companies. Gas distribution involves operating local, low-pressure pipes to transfer natural gas from larger transmission pipes to end users. Gas marketing companies are gas brokers that aggregate natural gas into quantities that fit the needs of their different customers and then deliver it, generally through other companies’ transmission and distribution lines. A relatively smaller portion of this industry is involved in propane gas distribution; therefore this standard is focused on natural gas distribution. Both types of gas are commonly used for heating and cooking by residential, commercial, and industrial customers. In structurally regulated markets, the utility is granted a full monopoly over the distribution and sale of natural gas. A regulator must approve the rates utilities charge to avoid the abuse of their monopoly position. In deregulated markets, distribution and marketing are legally separated and customers have a choice of which company to buy their gas from. In this case, a utility is guaranteed a monopoly only over distribution and is legally required to transmit all gas equitably along its pipes for a fixed fee. Overall, companies in the industry are tasked with providing safe, reliable, low-cost gas, while effectively managing their social and environmental impacts, such as community safety and methane emissions. See Disclosure Topics
Home Builders
The Home Builders industry is comprised of companies that develop new homes and residential communities. Development efforts generally include the acquisition of land, site preparation, the construction of homes, and home sales. The majority of industry activity is focused on the development and sale of single-family homes, which are typically part of company-designed residential communities. A smaller segment is centered on townhomes, condominiums, multi-family housing, and mixed-use development. Many companies in the industry offer financing services to individual homebuyers. The industry is fragmented, as there is a large number of developers of all sizes, which vary in company structure and geographic focus. Listed companies tend to be significantly larger, and more integrated than the numerous privately held home builders. See Disclosure Topics
Real Estate
The Real Estate industry is composed of companies that own, develop, and generally operate income-producing real estate assets. Companies in this industry are commonly structured as real estate investment trusts (REITs) and operate in a wide range of segments within the real estate industry, including residential, retail, office, health care, industrial, and hotel properties. REITs typically focus on the direct ownership of real estate assets, thereby providing investors with the opportunity to obtain real estate exposure without direct asset ownership and management. Although REITs are often concentrated in one segment of the Real Estate industry, many REITs are diversified through investment in multiple property types. See Disclosure Topics
Real Estate Services
The Real Estate Services industry is composed of companies that provide a range of services to real estate owners, tenants, investors, and developers. Primary services include property management, brokerage, appraisal, and information services for real estate owners. Property management services may include leasing, tenant relations, building maintenance, and building security. Many companies also provide brokerage services, facilitating sales and leasing transactions. Appraisals and other advisory or information services are other specialized services that are commonly provided to clients. Companies in the industry play important roles in the real estate value chain, which is a substantial part of the global economy. See Disclosure Topics
Waste Management
The Waste Management industry includes companies that collect, store, dispose of, recycle, or treat various forms of waste from residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Types of waste include municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, recyclable materials, and compostable or organic materials. Major companies are commonly vertically integrated, providing a range of services from waste collection to landfilling and recycling, while others provide specialized services such as treating medical and industrial wastes. Waste-to-energy operations are a distinct industry segment. Certain industry players also provide environmental engineering and consulting services, mostly to large industrial clients. See Disclosure Topics
Water Utilities & Services
Companies in the Water Utilities & Services industry own and operate water supply and wastewater treatment systems (generally structured as regulated utility businesses), or provide operational and other specialized water services to system owners (usually market-based operations). Water supply systems include the sourcing, treatment, and distribution of water to residences, businesses, and other entities such as governments. Wastewater systems collect and treat wastewater, including sewage, graywater, industrial waste fluids, and stormwater runoff, before discharging the resulting effluent back into the environment. See Disclosure Topics
Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy 6 Industries
The Biofuels industry consists of companies that produce biofuels and process raw materials for production. Biofuels are manufactured using organic feedstocks and are used primarily as transportation fuels. Companies typically source feedstocks, which include food, oil crops, and animal products, from agricultural product distributors. Ethanol and biodiesel are the most widely produced biofuels, while other types include biogas, biohydrogen, and synthetic biofuels, produced from a variety of organic feedstocks. Biofuels companies’ customers are chiefly fuel-blending and fuel-supply companies, including major integrated oil companies. While biofuels are produced worldwide, the publicly listed companies in the Biofuels industry operate primarily in the U.S., though some have minor operations abroad, notably in India, Brazil, and South Korea. Government regulations related to the use of renewable fuel are a significant demand driver in the industry. See Disclosure Topics
Forestry Management
The Forestry Management industry consists of companies that own and/or manage natural and planted forestry lands and timber tracts, or operate non-retail tree nurseries and rubber plantations . The industry conducts its operations on lands that can be company-owned or leased from public or private landowners. Companies typically sell timber to wood products manufacturers, pulp and paper producers, energy producers, and a variety of other customers. The industry’s largest companies operate primarily in and are domiciled in the U.S. and Canada. Some have international operations including in Brazil and New Zealand. While some integrated companies may also operate sawmills, wood products facilities, or pulp and paper facilities, sustainability issues arising from these activities are addressed in SASB’s Building Products & Furnishings (CG-BP) and Pulp & Paper Products (RR-PP) industry standards. See Disclosure Topics
Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries
The Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries industry consists of companies that manufacture fuel cells for energy production and energy storage equipment such as batteries. Manufacturers in this industry mainly sell products to companies for varied energy-generation and energy-storage applications and intensities, from commercial business applications to large-scale energy projects for utilities. Companies in the industry typically have global operations and sell products to a global marketplace. See Disclosure Topics
Pulp & Paper Products
The Pulp & Paper Products industry consists of companies that manufacture a range of wood pulp and paper products, including pulp fiber, paper packaging and sanitary paper, office paper, newsprint, and paper for industrial applications. Companies in the industry typically function as business-to-business entities and may have operations in multiple countries, such as the U.S., Canada, and Brazil . While some integrated companies own or manage timber tracts and are engaged in forest management, sustainability issues arising from these activities are addressed in SASB’s Forestry Management (RR-FM) industry standard. See Disclosure Topics
Solar Technology & Project Developers
The Solar Technology & Project Developers industry comprises companies that manufacture solar energy equipment, including solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, polysilicon feedstock, solar thermal electricity-generation systems, solar inverters, and other related components. Companies may also develop, build, and manage solar energy projects and offer financing or maintenance services to customers. Two primary technologies are utilized in the industry: PV and concentrated solar power (CSP). Within solar PV, there are two main technologies: crystalline silicon-based solar and thin-film solar, which includes panels made using copper indium gallium selenide and cadmium telluride. The primary markets for solar panels are residential, non-residential (commercial and industrial), and utility-scale projects. Companies in the industry operate globally. See Disclosure Topics
Wind Technology & Project Developers
The Wind Technology & Project Developers industry comprises companies that manufacture wind turbines, blades, towers, and other components of wind power systems. Companies that develop, build, and manage wind energy projects are also included within the scope of this industry. Manufacturers may also offer post-sale maintenance and support services. Turbines can be installed onshore or offshore, which can cause differences in wind-generating capacity and create challenges in project development for each type of installation. Most major wind technology companies operate globally. See Disclosure Topics
Resource Transformation 5 Industries
Aerospace & Defense
Companies in the Aerospace & Defense industry include manufacturers of commercial aircraft, aircraft parts, aerospace and defense products, as well as defense prime contractors. Commercial aircraft manufacturers represent approximately one quarter of industry revenues and sell mainly to commercial airlines and governments. Aerospace and defense parts manufacturers represent the largest segment of the industry by total revenue, selling primarily to governments. Both aerospace and defense manufacturers operate globally and serve a global customer base. Defense primes represent approximately one quarter of total industry revenues and manufacture products including military aircraft, space vehicles, missile systems, ammunition, small arms, naval ships, and other commercial and military vehicles. Their customers consist of various government agencies and related businesses with global operations. The defense prime category also includes firearms manufacturers that sell to law enforcement agencies, businesses, distributors, retailers, and consumers. Key sustainability topics within the industry include the energy efficiency and emissions profile of products and management of manufacturing energy and waste. See Disclosure Topics
Companies in the Chemicals industry transform organic and inorganic feedstocks into more than 70,000 diverse products with a range of industrial, pharmaceutical, agricultural, housing, automotive, and consumer applications. The industry is commonly segmented into basic (commodity) chemicals, agricultural chemicals, and specialty chemicals. Basic chemicals, the largest segment by volume produced, include bulk polymers, petrochemicals, inorganic chemicals, and other industrial chemicals. Agricultural chemicals include fertilizers, crop chemicals, and agricultural biotechnology. Specialty chemicals include paints and coatings, agrochemicals, sealants, adhesives, dyes, industrial gases, resins, and catalysts. Larger firms may produce basic, agricultural, and specialty chemicals, while most companies are specialized. Chemicals companies typically manufacture and sell products globally. See Disclosure Topics
Containers & Packaging
The Containers & Packaging industry converts raw materials, including metal, plastic, paper, and glass, into semi-finished or finished packaging products. Companies produce a wide range of products, including: corrugated cardboard packaging, food and beverage containers, bottles for household products, aluminum cans, steel drums, and other forms of packaging. Companies in the industry typically function as business-to-business entities and many operate globally. See Disclosure Topics
Electrical & Electronic Equipment
The Electrical & Electronic Equipment industry consists of companies that develop and manufacture a broad range of electric components, including power generation equipment, energy transformers, electric motors, switchboards, automation equipment, heating and cooling equipment, lighting, and transmission cables. These include: non-structural commercial and residential building equipment, such as Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting fixtures, security devices, and elevators; electrical power equipment; traditional power generation and transmission equipment; renewable energy equipment; industrial automation controls; measurement instruments; and electrical components used for industrial purposes, such as coils, wires, and cables. Companies in this mature and competitive industry operate globally and typically generate a significant portion of their revenue from outside the country of their domicile. See Disclosure Topics
Industrial Machinery & Goods
The Industrial Machinery & Goods industry manufactures equipment for a variety of industries including construction, agriculture, energy, utility, mining, manufacturing, automotive, and transportation. Products include engines, earth-moving equipment, trucks, tractors, ships, industrial pumps, locomotives, and turbines. Machinery manufacturers utilize large amounts of raw materials for production, including steel, plastics, rubber, paints, and glass. Manufacturers may also perform the machining and casting of parts before final assembly. Demand in the industry is closely tied to industrial production, while government emissions standards and customer demand are driving innovations to improve energy efficiency and limit air emissions during product use. See Disclosure Topics
Services 7 Industries
Advertising & Marketing
The industry is comprised of companies that create advertising campaigns for use in media, display, or direct mail advertising and related services including market research. Advertising and marketing companies are engaged primarily by businesses selling consumer products, entertainment, financial services, technology products, and telecommunication services. Larger advertising companies are structured as holding companies, owning multiple agencies across the globe that provide a wide range of services such as custom publishing, brand consultancy, mobile and online marketing, and public relations. For any advertising campaign, the same company may be engaged in all aspects, from graphic arts and content creation to data analytics, marketing research, and media planning and buying, or the company may be in charge only of certain aspects. See Disclosure Topics
Casinos & Gaming
Publicly held casinos and gaming companies operate gambling facilities and/or platforms, including brick-and-mortar casinos, riverboat casinos, online gambling websites, and racetracks. The broader industry in the U.S. is dominated by privately held Native American casinos, which significantly outnumber publicly held casinos. Native American casinos are generally owned and operated by tribes, but sometimes can be managed by commercial casino operators or other management companies. The industry is characterized by high levels of regulatory oversight, which represents the main barrier to entry for new operators. Fewer than half of U.S. states have legalized commercial casinos in some form, although industry regulation varies significantly worldwide. See Disclosure Topics
The Education industry includes education institutions that are profit-seeking and generate revenue from student fees. At the primary and secondary levels, this includes mostly education management organizations (EMOs) and some businesses. At the tertiary (or higher) level, services are delivered on a full-time, part-time, distance-learning, and occasional basis across establishments such as junior colleges, business and secretarial schools, colleges, universities, and professional schools including medical, pharmaceutical, and veterinary programs. An increasing number of students in for-profit universities take courses online. See Disclosure Topics
Hotels & Lodging
The Hotels & Lodging industry is composed of companies that provide overnight accommodation, including hotels, motels, and inns. It is a competitive industry that is primarily comprised of large hotel chains and in which customers base purchase decisions on a wide range of factors including quality and consistency of services, availability of locations, price, and loyalty program offers. Businesses are often structured in one or more of the following ways: direct revenue from hotel services, including room rental and food and beverage sales; management and franchise services with fee revenue from property management; and vacation residential ownership with revenue from sales of residential units. See Disclosure Topics
Leisure Facilities
The industry is comprised of companies that operate entertainment, travel, and recreation facilities and services. Companies in this industry operate amusement parks, movie theaters, ski resorts, sports stadiums, and athletic clubs and other venues. Leisure facilities companies mainly generate revenue by providing live, digital, and/or interactive entertainment to millions of guests and customers annually across various locations. See Disclosure Topics
Media & Entertainment
Media and entertainment companies create content and/or acquire rights to distribute content over cable or broadcast media, including entertainment programs, news, music, and children’s programming. Companies in this industry also publish books, newspapers, and periodicals, and broadcast radio and local television programming. See Disclosure Topics
Professional & Commercial Services
The industry includes companies that rely on the unique skills and knowledge of their employees to serve a range of clients. Services are often provided on an assignment basis, where an individual or team is responsible for the delivery of services to clients. Offerings include, but are not limited to, management and administration consulting services, such as staffing and executive search services; legal, accounting, and tax preparation services; and financial and non-financial information services. Non-financial information service providers may specialize in an array of topics such as energy, healthcare, real estate, technology, and science. Financial information service companies include credit and rating agencies as well as data and portfolio analytics providers. Customers of professional and commercial service providers include private and public for-profit institutions and non-profit organizations. See Disclosure Topics
Technology & Communications 6 Industries
Electronic Manufacturing Services & Original Design Manufacturing
The Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) & Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) industry consists of two main segments. EMS companies provide assembly, logistics, and after-market services for original equipment manufacturers. The ODM segment of the industry provides engineering and design services for original equipment manufacturers and may own significant intellectual property. Although EMS & ODM companies produce equipment for a variety of sectors, the industry is closely associated with the Hardware industry, which consists of companies that design technology hardware products such as personal computers, consumer electronics, and storage devices for both personal consumers and businesses. See Disclosure Topics
The Hardware industry consists of companies that design and sell technology hardware products, including computers, consumer electronics, communications equipment, storage devices, components, and peripherals. Many companies in the industry rely heavily on the Electronic Manufacturing Services & Original Design Manufacturing (EMS & ODM) industry for manufacturing services. The industry is expected to continue to grow as the use of technology rapidly grows, especially from consumers in emerging markets. See Disclosure Topics
Internet Media & Services
The Internet Media & Services industry consists of two main segments. The Internet Media segment includes companies providing search engines and internet advertising channels, online gaming, and online communities such as social networks, as well as content, usually easily searchable, such as educational, medical, health, sports, or news content. The Internet-based Services segment includes companies selling services mainly through the Internet. The industry generates revenues primarily from online advertising, on usually free content, with other sources of revenue being subscription fees, content sales, or sale of user information to interested third parties. See Disclosure Topics
The Semiconductors industry includes companies that design or manufacture semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, their raw materials and components, or capital equipment. Some companies in the industry provide outsourced manufacturing, assembly, or other services for designers of semiconductor devices. See Disclosure Topics
Software & IT Services
The Software & Information Technology (IT) Services industry offers products and services globally to retail, business, and government customers, and includes companies involved in the development and sales of applications software, infrastructure software, and middleware. The industry is generally competitive, but with dominant players in some segments. While relatively immature, the industry is characterized by high-growth companies that place a heavy emphasis on innovation and depend on human and intellectual capital. The industry also includes IT services companies delivering specialized IT functions, such as consulting and outsourced services. New industry business models include cloud computing, software as a service, virtualization, machine-to-machine communication, big data analysis, and machine learning. Additionally, brand value is key for companies in the industry to scale and achieve network effects, whereby wide adoption of a particular software product leads to self-perpetuating growth in sales. See Disclosure Topics
Telecommunication Services
The Telecommunication Services industry consists of wireless and wireline telecommunications companies, as well as companies that provide cable and satellite services. The wireless services segment provides direct communication through radio-based cellular networks and operates and maintains the associated switching and transmission facilities. The wireline segment provides local and long distance voice communication via the Public Switched Telephone Network. Wireline carriers also offer voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephone, television, and broadband internet services over an expanding network of fiber optic cables. Cable providers distribute television programming from cable networks to subscribers. They typically also provide consumers with video services, high-speed internet service, and VoIP. These services are traditionally bundled into packages that provide subscribers with easier payment options than paying for each service separately. Satellite companies distribute TV programming through broadcasting satellites orbiting the Earth or through ground stations. Companies serve customers primarily in their domestic markets, although some companies operate in several countries. See Disclosure Topics
Transportation 9 Industries
Air Freight & Logistics
Air freight and logistics companies provide freight services and transportation logistics to both businesses and individuals. There are three main industry segments: air freight transportation, post and courier services, and transportation logistics services. Companies in the industry earn revenue from one or more of the segments and range from non-asset-based to asset-heavy. Transportation logistics services include contracting with road, rail, marine, and air freight companies to select and hire appropriate transportation. Services can also include customs brokerage, distribution management, vendor consolidation, cargo insurance, purchase-order management, and customized logistics information. The industry is key to global trade, granting it a degree of demand stability. See Disclosure Topics
The Airlines industry is comprised of companies that provide air transportation globally to passengers for both leisure and business purposes. This includes commercial full-service, low-cost, and regional airlines. Full-service carriers typically use a hub-and-spoke model to design their routes within countries and internationally. Low-cost carriers usually offer a smaller number of routes as well as no-frills service to their customers. Regional carriers typically operate under contract to full-service carriers, expanding the network of the larger carriers. Many airline companies also have a cargo segment in their operations from which they generate additional revenue. It is common within the industry for companies to form partnerships or join alliances in order to increase network size. Operating as an alliance allows airlines to offer customers access to international or otherwise underserved itineraries on multiple airlines under one ticket. At the same time, airlines share some overhead costs and increase their competitive position in the global market without having to operate outside their home country. See Disclosure Topics
Auto Parts
Companies in the Auto Parts industry supply motor vehicle parts and accessories to original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Auto parts companies typically specialize in the manufacturing and assembly of certain parts or accessories, such as engine exhaust systems, alternative drivetrains, hybrid systems, catalytic converters, aluminum wheels (rims), tires, rearview mirrors, and onboard electrical and electronic equipment. Although the larger automotive industry includes several tiers of suppliers that provide parts and raw materials used to assemble motor vehicles, the scope of SASB’s Auto Parts industry includes only Tier 1 suppliers that supply parts directly to OEMs. The scope of the industry excludes captive suppliers, such as engine and stamping facilities, that are owned and operated by OEMs. Similarity, it excludes Tier 2 suppliers, which provide inputs for the Auto Parts industry. See Disclosure Topics
The Automobiles industry includes companies that manufacture passenger vehicles, light trucks, and motorcycles. Industry players design, build, and sell vehicles that run using a range of traditional and alternative fuels and powertrains. They sell these vehicles to dealers for consumer retail sales as well as sell directly to fleet customers, including car rental and leasing companies, commercial fleets, and governments. Due to the global nature of this industry, nearly all companies have manufacturing facilities, assembly plants, and service locations in several countries around the world. The Automobiles industry is highly concentrated, with a few large manufacturers and a diversified supply chain. Given the industry’s reliance on natural resources and sensitivity to the business cycle, revenues are typically cyclical. See Disclosure Topics
Car Rental & Leasing
Companies in this industry rent or lease passenger vehicles to customers. Car rentals are typically for periods of less than a month, while leases are for a year or more. The industry includes car-sharing business models where rentals are measured hourly and typically include subscription fees. Car rental companies operate out of airport locations, which serve business and leisure travelers, and out of neighborhood locations, which mostly provide repair-shop and weekend rentals. The industry is concentrated, with several dominant market players, who operate globally using a franchise model. The growth of public transit and ride-sharing services in major metropolitan areas may represent a threat to the long-term profitability of the Car Rental & Leasing industry if customers chose to hail rides or take public transit rather than rent vehicles. See Disclosure Topics
Cruise Lines
The Cruise Lines industry comprises companies that provide passenger transportation and leisure entertainment, including deep sea cruises and river cruises. The industry is dominated by a few large companies. Cruises aim to provide a luxury resort experience for thousands of passengers at a time. The Cruise Lines industry has often been the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry, but is very cyclical. See Disclosure Topics
Marine Transportation
The Marine Transportation industry consists of companies that provide deep-sea, coastal, and/or river-way freight shipping services. It is of strategic importance to international trade and its revenues are tied to macroeconomic cycles. Key activities include transportation of containerized and bulk freight, including consumer goods and a wide range of commodities, and transportation of chemicals and petroleum products in tankers. Due to the global scope of the industry, companies operate in many countries and under diverse legal and regulatory frameworks. See Disclosure Topics
Rail Transportation
The Rail Transportation industry consists of companies that provide rail freight shipping and support services. Key activities include shipping containerized and bulk freight, including consumer goods and commodities. Rail companies typically own, maintain, and operate their rail networks, which may require significant capital expenditures. The U.S. operates the longest railroad network in the world, followed closely by Russia, China, India, Canada, Germany, and France. The industry exhibits economies of density due to its network effects, lending itself to natural monopoly conditions. Together with the large sunk costs of rail infrastructure, this provides a competitive advantage to incumbent firms in the industry and creates barriers to entry for new firms. See Disclosure Topics
Road Transportation
The Road Transportation industry consists of companies that provide long- and short-haul freight trucking services. Key activities include the shipment of containerized and bulk freight, including consumer goods and a wide variety of commodities. The industry is commonly broken down into two categories: truckload (vehicles carrying the goods of only one customer) and less-than-truckload (vehicles carrying the goods of multiple customers). Owner-operators comprise the vast majority of the industry due to the relative ease of entry, while a few large operators maintain market share through contracts with major shippers. Large companies often subcontract with owner-operators to supplement their owned fleet. See Disclosure Topics