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
- 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
- Supply Chain Management
- Materials Sourcing & Efficiency The category addresses issues related to the resilience of materials supply chains to impacts of climate change and other external environmental and social factors. It captures the impacts of such external factors on operational activity of suppliers, which can further affect availability and pricing of key resources. It addresses a company’s ability to manage these risks through product design, manufacturing, and end-of-life management, such as by using of recycled and renewable materials, reducing the use of key materials (dematerialization), maximizing resource efficiency in manufacturing, and making R&D investments in substitute materials. Additionally, companies can manage these issues by screening, selection, monitoring, and engagement with suppliers to ensure their resilience to external risks. It does not address issues associated with environmental and social externalities created by operational activity of individual suppliers, which is covered in a separate category.
- 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:
Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries
Get access to the full industry standard
Manufacturing in the Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries industry requires energy to power machines and cooling, ventilation, lighting, and product-testing systems. Purchased electricity can represent a major share of the energy sources used in the industry and can account for a notable proportion of the total cost of materials and value added. Various sustainability factors are contributing to an increase in the cost of conventional electricity while making alternative sources cost-competitive. Energy efficiency efforts can have a significant positive impact on operational efficiency and profitability, especially given the fact that many companies operate on relatively low or negative margins. By improving the efficiency of the manufacturing process and exploring alternative energy sources, fuel cell and industrial battery companies can reduce both their indirect environmental impacts and their operating expenses.
Employee Health & Safety
Workforce Health & Safety
Fuel cell and industrial battery manufacturing workers may be exposed to hazardous substances or workplace accidents that can have chronic or acute health impacts. Companies could face litigation as a result of injuries or chronic health impacts from working in fuel cell and battery manufacturing or recycling facilities. Companies that develop and implement strong safety processes and internal controls, including through providing health and safety training, protective gear, improved ventilation, and regular health monitoring, can improve workforce health and safety performance and mitigate regulatory and litigation risks.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Both customer demand and regulatory requirements are driving innovation in energy-efficient products with lower environmental impacts and lower total cost of ownership. Therefore, research and development in the Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries industry that drive energy and thermal efficiency and enhance storage capacities can lower barriers to adoption. Advances in battery technology to increase storage capabilities and improve charging efficiencies, while lowering costs for customers, are critical for the integration of renewable energy technologies into the grid. Fuel cell and industrial battery manufacturers that are able to improve efficiency in the use phase will be able to increase revenues and market share, pressured by stricter environmental regulations, high energy costs, and customer preferences.
Product End-of-life Management
As the rate of adoption for fuel cells and industrial batteries increases and more products reach their end of life, designing products to facilitate end-of-life management and maximize materials efficiency is likely to become increasingly important. Fuel cells and batteries may contain hazardous substances, which must be properly disposed of as they can pose human health or environmental risks. The emergence of several laws regarding the end-of-life phase of batteries has recently heightened the importance of the issue, creating potential added costs of managing risks, as well as opportunities, through regulatory incentives. Effective design for disassembly and reuse or recycling will be a key element for increasing recovery rates in order to reduce the lifecycle impacts of fuel cells and batteries. Furthermore, given the input price volatility and resource constraints of some raw materials, fuel cell and industrial battery companies that are able to develop take-back and recycling systems and reuse recovered materials in manufacturing may increase their long-term operational efficiency and improve their risk profile.
Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
Manufacturing certain types of industrial batteries and fuel cells requires an available supply of materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and platinum. Access to these materials is critical for the continuous development and scaling of clean energy technologies like fuel cells and industrial batteries. Limited global resources of these critical materials, as well as their concentration in countries that may have relatively limited governance and regulatory structures or are subject to geopolitical tensions, expose companies to the risk of supply-chain disruptions and input-price increases or volatility. At the same time, competition from other industries that utilize the same critical materials and/or employ fuel cell and battery technologies is likely to exacerbate supply risks. Fuel cell and industrial battery companies with strong supply-chain standards and the ability to adapt to increasing resource scarcity will be better positioned to protect shareholder value. Companies that are able to limit the use of critical materials, and to secure their supply of the materials they do use, can mitigate potential financial impacts due to supply disruptions, volatile input prices, and reputational and regulatory risks.
Recommended Next Step: Get access to the full industry standard