Relevant Issues (4 of 26)
The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to impact enterprise value, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the SASB Standards Board continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company makes their own determination about whether or not a sustainability issue may impact its ability to create enterprise value. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability issues based on their unique business model. Why are some issues greyed out?
- GHG Emissions
- Air Quality
- Energy Management The category addresses environmental impacts associated with energy consumption. It addresses the company’s management of energy in manufacturing and/or for provision of products and services derived from utility providers (grid energy) not owned or controlled by the company. More specifically, it includes management of energy efficiency and intensity, energy mix, as well as grid reliance. Upstream (e.g., suppliers) and downstream (e.g., product use) energy use is not included in the scope.
- Water & Wastewater Management
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety The category addresses issues involving unintended characteristics of products sold or services provided that may create health or safety risks to end-users. It addresses a company’s ability to offer manufactured products and/or services that meet customer expectations with respect to their health and safety characteristics. It includes, but is not limited to, issues involving liability, management of recalls and market withdrawals, product testing, and chemicals/content/ingredient management in products.
- Customer Welfare
- Selling Practices & Product Labeling
- Labor Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
- Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Business Model & Innovation
- Product Design & Lifecycle Management The category addresses incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations in characteristics of products and services provided or sold by the company. It includes, but is not limited to, managing the lifecycle impacts of products and services, such as those related to packaging, distribution, use-phase resource intensity, and other environmental and social externalities that may occur during their use-phase or at the end of life. The category captures a company’s ability to address customer and societal demand for more sustainable products and services as well as to meet evolving environmental and social regulation. It does not address direct environmental or social impacts of the company’s operations nor does it address health and safety risks to consumers from product use, which are covered in other categories.
- Business Model Resilience
- Supply Chain Management The category addresses management of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks within a company’s supply chain. It addresses issues associated with environmental and social externalities created by suppliers through their operational activities. Such issues include, but are not limited to, environmental responsibility, human rights, labor practices, and ethics and corruption. Management may involve screening, selection, monitoring, and engagement with suppliers on their environmental and social impacts. The category does not address the impacts of external factors – such as climate change and other environmental and social factors – on suppliers’ operations and/or on the availability and pricing of key resources, which is covered in a separate category.
- 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
The General Issue Category is an industry-agnostic version of the Disclosure Topics that appear in each SASB Standard. Disclosure topics represent the industry-specific impacts of General Issue Categories. The industry-specific Disclosure Topics ensure each SASB Standard is tailored to the industry, while the General Issue Categories enable comparability across industries. For example, Health & Nutrition is a disclosure topic in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry, representing an industry-specific measure of the general issue of Customer Welfare. The issue of Customer Welfare, however, manifests as the Counterfeit Drugs disclosure topic in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry. What is the relationship between General Issue Category and Disclosure Topics?
Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for:
Building Products & Furnishings
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Energy Management in Manufacturing
The Building Products & Furnishings industry creates value through energy-intensive manufacturing processes. Purchased electricity represents the largest share of energy consumption across the industry, while companies may also utilize fossil fuel energy on site. The price of conventional grid electricity and volatility of fossil fuel prices may increase as a result of evolving climate change regulations and new incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy, among other factors, while alternative energy sources become more cost-competitive. Decisions regarding energy sourcing and type, as well as the use of alternative energy, can create trade-offs related to the energy supply’s cost and reliability for operations. As the industry operates on relatively narrow profit margins, reductions in energy consumption may have a significant influence on financial performance. The manner in which a company manages energy efficiency, its reliance on different types of energy and the associated sustainability risks, and its ability to access alternative energy sources is likely to impact financial performance.
Product Quality & Safety
Management of Chemicals in Products
The Building Products & Furnishings industry's products may contain substances that have the potential to harm human health, including volatile organic compounds and potential reproductive toxins, carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors. In general, these substances are found in products at low concentrations, if at all, and therefore do not pose a health concern. Nonetheless, the industry is exposed to potentially significant regulatory and reputational risk as a result of the use of substances of concern. Actual or perceived human health risks create the potential for future regulation around product chemical content and possible reputational impacts for companies, which can significantly affect demand for products. Increasing consumer concern over chemical use is driving the industry’s voluntary efforts to eliminate such chemicals from products and use alternative materials. The continued adoption of building certification standards such as LEED are driving demand for products with reduced chemical content. Companies that effectively manage harmful chemicals in their products may enjoy a competitive advantage over the long term through higher demand, reduced regulatory risk, and improved brand value.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Product Lifecycle Environmental Impacts
Depending on the specific building product or furnishing, significant environmental impacts can arise during raw material sourcing, transportation, manufacturing, use-phase, or end-of-life. Rising consumer and regulatory preference for less-impactful products has spawned the development of more sustainable products, broadly termed “green building materials.” In addition, product lifecycle certification has arisen as a tool for companies and their customers to assess and improve a product’s lifecycle impact. Certification programs typically address specific sustainability characteristics of a product category and include the use of closed-loop materials that help minimize a product’s end-of-life environmental impacts and reduce the need for extracting or producing virgin materials. Through product innovation and design that facilitates end-of-life product recovery and the use of less-impactful materials, the adoption of product certification programs, and partnerships with customers, manufacturers of building products can achieve improvements in lifecycle impacts, reduce regulatory risk, meet growing customer demand, and realize cost savings.
Supply Chain Management
Wood Supply Chain Management
The Building Products & Furnishings industry utilizes large amounts of wood sourced from forests worldwide. Unsustainable production and harvesting of timber can result in adverse environmental and social impacts, including biodiversity loss and harm to the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. Companies may inadvertently source wood from areas that are susceptible to unsustainable forestry practices. Reports of illegal logging, environmental pollution, or adverse impacts on communities can result in reputational repercussions that can damage a company’s brand value, affecting demand for their products. In addition, regulations that address the importation of illegally produced wood can result in penalties and further damage to brand value. To mitigate these risks, companies are increasingly adopting third-party certifications that verify that wood is grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. Obtaining wood sourcing certifications can also provide companies with a potential growth channel, as they can satisfy customer demand for certified products.
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