Relevant Issues (6 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
- Water & Wastewater Management
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability The category addresses a company’s ability to ensure broad access to its products and services, specifically in the context of underserved markets and/or population groups. It includes the management of issues related to universal needs, such as the accessibility and affordability of health care, financial services, utilities, education, and telecommunications.
- 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 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 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 The category addresses the company’s approach to managing risks and opportunities surrounding ethical conduct of business, including fraud, corruption, bribery and facilitation payments, fiduciary responsibilities, and other behavior that may have an ethical component. This includes sensitivity to business norms and standards as they shift over time, jurisdiction, and culture. It addresses the company’s ability to provide services that satisfy the highest professional and ethical standards of the industry, which means to avoid conflicts of interest, misrepresentation, bias, and negligence through training employees adequately and implementing policies and procedures to ensure employees provide services free from bias and error.
- 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:
Medical Equipment & Supplies
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Access & Affordability
Affordability & Pricing
Legislative emphasis on health care cost containment and increased access is likely to continue to place downward pricing pressures on the Medical Equipment & Supplies industry. This pressure may be further articulated by consolidation among health care providers and the role of government-sponsored insurance programs. In the U.S., for example, companies that have relied on contractual advantages to protect profits may be challenged to enhance value as the government seeks to reduce its Medicare and Medicaid spending. Firms that are able to ensure fair pricing are likely to limit the negative impact of cost containment while recognizing the potential revenue opportunities associated with expanded access.
Product Quality & Safety
Information on product safety and side effects can surface after controlled clinical trials and approval. Subsequently, companies are exposed to the financial implications of recalls and other adverse events. Issues related to product safety, such as equipment failures, manufacturing defects, design flaws, or inadequate disclosure of product-related risks, can lead to significant product liability claims. Firms that limit the incidence of recalls, safety concerns, and enforcement actions for manufacturing concerns may be better positioned to protect shareholder value.
Selling Practices & Product Labeling
Medical equipment and supplies companies face challenges associated with marketing of specific products. Direct-to-consumer advertisements for medical devices and outreach to physicians provide opportunities for increasing market share. However, challenges arise from the potential for marketing off-label uses, which can result in significant fines and settlements. Corporate disclosure of legal and regulatory fines and the codes of ethics that govern marketing activities will allow shareholders to better understand performance in this area.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Medical equipment and supplies companies face increasing challenges associated with the human and environmental impact of the industry’s products. Companies may face consumer and regulatory pressure to limit the use of material inputs that are associated with health concerns, while also addressing issues such as the energy efficiency and end-of-life disposal of specific products. Firms that are able to address these concerns while engaging in efforts to enhance product take-back may be better positioned to meet consumer demand and reduce future liabilities.
Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain quality is essential to protecting consumer health and corporate value. Medical equipment and supplies firms that fail to ensure quality and traceability throughout their supply chains are susceptible to fines, lost revenue, and reputational damage. In addition, companies may need to manage the use of material inputs that are considered scarce. Disclosure of supply chain audit programs, strategies to ensure traceability, and the management of critical materials may provide shareholders with an understanding of how companies in this industry are protecting shareholder value.
Medical equipment and supplies companies are subject to various international, national, and state laws pertaining to health care fraud and abuse. For example, in the U.S., anti-kickback laws and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act generally prohibit companies from making payments for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. The ability of companies to ensure compliance throughout their global and domestic operational footprint may have material implications. Corporate disclosure of legal and regulatory fines and the codes of ethics that govern interactions with health professionals may allow shareholders to monitor performance in this area.
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