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
- Water & Wastewater Management
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts The category addresses management of the company’s impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity through activities including, but not limited to, land use for exploration, natural resource extraction, and cultivation, as well as project development, construction, and siting. The impacts include, but are not limited to, biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, and deforestation at all stages – planning, land acquisition, permitting, development, operations, and site remediation. The category does not cover impacts of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety
- Customer Welfare
- Selling Practices & Product Labeling
- Labor Practices
- Employee Health & Safety The category addresses a company’s ability to create and maintain a safe and healthy workplace environment that is free of injuries, fatalities, and illness (both chronic and acute). It is traditionally accomplished through implementing safety management plans, developing training requirements for employees and contractors, and conducting regular audits of their own practices as well as those of their subcontractors. The category further captures how companies ensure physical and mental health of workforce through technology, training, corporate culture, regulatory compliance, monitoring and testing, and personal protective equipment.
- 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 The category addresses an industry’s capacity to manage risks and opportunities associated with incorporating social, environmental, and political transitions into long-term business model planning. This includes responsiveness to the transition to a low-carbon and climate-constrained economy, as well as growth and creation of new markets among unserved and underserved socio-economic populations. The category highlights industries in which evolving environmental and social realities may challenge companies to fundamentally adapt or may put their business models at risk.
- 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
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:
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Land Use & Ecological Impacts
Home builders face challenges directly related to the ecological impacts of development activities. Developments often take place on previously undeveloped land, and companies must manage the ecosystem disruption of construction activities as well as the regulations and permitting processes that accompany “greenfield” land development. Regardless of the siting decisions companies make, industry development activities generally carry risks related to land and water contamination, mismanagement of waste, and excessive strain on water resources during the construction and use phases. Violation of environmental regulations can result in costly fines and delays that decrease financial returns while potentially harming reputations. Companies with repeated violations or track records of prior activities with excessive ecological impacts may find it difficult to receive approval from local communities for new developments, thereby decreasing future revenue and market share. Companies that concentrate development efforts in water-stressed regions may see further challenges to permitting approvals, and also face risks related to land or home depreciation due to water shortage concerns. Environmental quality control procedures, “smart growth” strategies (including a focus on redevelopment sites), and conservation strategies may help ensure compliance with environmental laws, and therefore mitigate financial risks, while improving future growth opportunities.
Employee Health & Safety
Workforce Health & Safety
Home construction requires a significant amount of manual labor from company employees and subcontractors. Site excavation and home construction activities are physically demanding, exposing workers to risks from falls and heavy machinery, and resulting in relatively high injury and fatality rates. Worker injuries and fatalities have internal and external costs that can significantly impact the results of their operations and their social license to operate. Impacts include fines, penalties, workers' compensation costs, regulatory compliance costs from more stringent oversight, higher insurance premiums, and project delays and downtime. To avoid such costs, companies can foster a culture of safety by developing proactive safety management plans, training employees and contractors, and conducting regular audits.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Design for Resource Efficiency
Residential buildings, when occupied, consume significant amounts of energy and water. Companies in the Home Builders industry can improve the resource efficiency of homes over their lifecycle through sustainable design practices and choice of materials. Energy-saving products and techniques such as designing homes for efficient heating and cooling can help to reduce dependence on energy, whether it comes from the electric grid or onsite fuel combustion. These measures, which are intended to improve the resource efficiency of homes, can decrease the costs of home ownership through lower utility bills. Water saving features such as low-flow faucets alleviate strain on local communities, while likely also lowering costs. Homebuyer awareness of the importance of the energy and water efficiency creates a potential for companies to increase demand in their target market, thereby increasing revenue and/or margins. Effectively applying resource efficiency design principles in a cost-effective manner may serve as a competitive advantage, especially when companies are successful in systematically educating customers on the long-term benefits of these homes.
Community Impacts of New Developments
Community and urban planning gives home builders the opportunity to thoughtfully design new residential developments in a way that benefits their customers as well as the pre-existing surrounding community. New home development can bring economic growth and workforce opportunities while moderating cost-of-living increases, and can provide communities with safe and vibrant neighborhoods. Companies may strive to improve communities’ environmental and social impacts by providing access to public transportation and/or not overburdening existing transportation or utilities infrastructure, providing access to green spaces, developing mixed-use spaces, and creating more walkable communities. These strategies can help increase the overall demand for and selling prices of homes as well as reduce the risks related to permitting and community or stakeholder opposition related to current or future developments. When companies use development strategies that inadequately integrate their new communities into the pre-existing surrounding communities, they risk insufficient sales prices, excessive costs related to infrastructure needs and assessments, and risk being permitting approvals, delays, and/or community support for future developments.
Business Model Resilience
Climate Change Adaptation
The impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events and changing climate patterns, may impact the markets companies select to develop homes and residential communities. Companies with business models that incorporate ongoing assessments of climate change risks, and adapt to such risks, are likely to more effectively grow company value over the long term, partially through reductions in risk. More specifically, strategies focused on home development activities in floodplains and coastal regions that are exposed to extreme weather events, such as flooding, have increased needs for their business models to adapt to climate change, especially considering long-term challenges like flood insurance rates, the financial stability of government-subsidized flood insurance programs, permitting approvals, and financing stipulations. Rising climate risks and the increasing cost of occupying properties in volatile regions may translate into reduced long-term demand, land value depreciation, and concerns over understated long-term costs of home ownership. Additionally, companies that build developments in water-stressed regions risk losing land value and may face problems with permitting approvals. The active assessment of climate change risks and a holistic view of long-term homebuyer demand may enable companies to successfully adapt to such risks.
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