Relevant Issues (3 of 26)
- GHG Emissions
- Air Quality
- Energy Management
- Water & Wastewater Management
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security The category addresses management of risks related to collection, retention, and use of sensitive, confidential, and/or proprietary customer or user data. It includes social issues that may arise from incidents such as data breaches in which personally identifiable information (PII) and other user or customer data may be exposed. It addresses a company’s strategy, policies, and practices related to IT infrastructure, staff training, record keeping, cooperation with law enforcement, and other mechanisms used to ensure security of customer or user data.
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety
- Customer Welfare The category addresses customer welfare concerns over issues including, but not limited to, health and nutrition of foods and beverages, antibiotic use in animal production, and management of controlled substances. The category addresses the company’s ability to provide consumers with manufactured products and services that are aligned with societal expectations. It does not include issues directly related to quality and safety malfunctions of manufactured products and services, but instead addresses qualities inherent to the design and delivery of products and services where customer welfare may be in question. The scope of the category also captures companies’ ability to prevent counterfeit products.
- Selling Practices & Product Labeling The category addresses social issues that may arise from a failure to manage the transparency, accuracy, and comprehensibility of marketing statements, advertising, and labeling of products and services. It includes, but is not limited to, advertising standards and regulations, ethical and responsible marketing practices, misleading or deceptive labeling, as well as discriminatory or predatory selling and lending practices. This may include deceptive or aggressive selling practices in which incentive structures for employees could encourage the sale of products or services that are not in the best interest of customers or clients.
- Labor Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
- Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Business Model & Innovation
- Product Design & Lifecycle Management
- Business Model Resilience
- Supply Chain Management
- Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
- Physical Impacts of Climate Change
Leadership & Governance
- Business Ethics
- Competitive Behavior
- Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
- Critical Incident Risk Management
- Systemic Risk Management
Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for:
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Colleges and universities are frequent and compelling targets for cyber criminals. The industry may face data security risks due to the large number of personal records processed and stored, the mix of intellectual property and personally identifiable information held (e.g., social security numbers, vaccination records, and other information required for admission), and the open, collaborative environment of many campuses. The exposure of sensitive information through cybersecurity breaches, other malicious activities, or student negligence may result in significant social externalities such as identity fraud and theft. Data breaches may compromise public perception of the effectiveness of a school’s security measures, which could result in reputational damage and difficulty in attracting and retaining students, as well as significant costs to fix the consequences of a breach and prevent future breaches. Enhanced disclosure on the number and nature of security breaches, management strategies to address these risks, and policies and procedures to protect student information will allow shareholders to understand the effectiveness of management strategies that schools employ regarding this issue.
Quality of Education & Gainful Employment
Increasing tuition requirements are pushing more students to take on government and private loans to finance their education. Rapid growth in student debt creates significant economic and social externalities if student loans go into default. Many programs at for-profit colleges prepare students for gainful employment in recognized occupations. Therefore, colleges that provide high-quality education and facilitate completion of programs increase the chances of graduates obtaining employment and paying off their loans. In the absence of sufficient educational and career management support, graduates may end up with high debt and few employable skills. Performing poorly on accountability metrics such as graduation rates, default rates, and job placement rates may jeopardize eligibility for funding under Title IV of the U.S. Higher Education Act, and therefore, many U.S. institutions’ main source of revenue. At the same time, transparent disclosure of these metrics to prospective students is directly related to institutions’ ability to attract and retain students.
Selling Practices & Product Labeling
Marketing & Recruiting Practices
For-profit education companies that admit and enroll more students generate more revenue. Therefore, companies may turn to aggressive recruitment strategies, such as spending significant amounts of money on marketing rather than on instruction and student services. Such aggressive recruiting practices have resulted in additional public and regulatory scrutiny of for-profit education companies. Using false or misleading advertisements to recruit prospective students may result in significant fines for companies and loss of eligibility for government-funded student loans. Limits on these funding sources may create incentives for companies to mislead students into taking on private loans that they are not able to repay, presenting a significant reputational risk to companies in the industry. Enhanced disclosure will allow shareholders to better understand company policies and practices for marketing and recruiting to attract students.
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