Relevant Issues (3 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
- 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:
Wind Technology & Project Developers
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Employee Health & Safety
Workforce Health & Safety
Many wind turbine manufacturers offer operations and maintenance (O&M) services for wind farm owners or operators together with the sales of their products. These activities may include installation, maintenance, monitoring, and repairing turbine installations. The wind farm O&M segment is held to a high safety standard because the work is inherently hazardous. Hazards include physical hazards such as falls from heights and moving mechanical parts, as well as electrical hazards. The quality of O&M services is therefore critical for the safety of wind farm operations, with the potential to affect company reputations and demand for products and services. Operational downtime and impacts on wind farm insurance costs as a result of accidents have the potential to add to the total costs of operating wind farms. Wind farm owners or developers may therefore consider the safety record of turbine and service providers in their requests for tender. Companies that can improve turbine and O&M safety can potentially reduce operating costs and extraordinary expenses.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Ecological Impacts of Project Development
Wind farm development involves siting and land acquisition, permitting, and engagement with local stakeholders to address concerns about potential environmental and community impacts. Offshore developments can affect the marine ecosystem, and both on and offshore wind farms can have an adverse effect on local animal populations, some of which may be endangered. Obtaining environmental and construction permits for projects can be slowed or prevented if regulators or community members have concerns about ecological impacts from the development. Wind project approval directly affects equipment manufacturers through demand for turbines. While manufacturers do not typically control the project approval process, research and development investments can minimize ecological impacts, leading to long-term benefits. These measures could facilitate project approvals and give wind technology manufacturers a competitive advantage, potentially increasing their market share over time.
Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
Wind technology companies source materials from global supply chains for use in turbines, including critical materials, such as neodymium and dysprosium, and critical minerals including tantalum and tungsten. Materials sourcing risks arise from a low substitution ratio, the concentration of deposits in a few countries, geopolitical considerations, and competition from other industries. Direct drive turbines, which are being increasingly used for their reliability, can require significantly more critical materials than more traditional drive trains. Companies can minimize negative externalities and protect themselves from related input cost volatility and supply constraints by creating transparent supply chains, working actively to source materials from reliable suppliers or regions that have minimal environmental or social risks associated with them, supporting research for alternative inputs, and reducing their reliance on these materials.
The Wind Technology & Project Developers industry’s long-term success depends on its ability to produce energy at a comparatively lower cost than other energy sources. Steel and other materials purchases are one of the largest cost components of turbines and inputs such as steel have exhibited price volatility in the past. In recent years, wind turbines have grown in size, in terms of both the tower height and the swept area of the rotor, to improve energy output and increase the potential for wind energy production in more areas. To achieve this expansion cost-effectively, companies can employ innovative methods to increase turbine output while using materials more efficiently. This could influence companies’ competitiveness and market share, costs of production, and operational risks related to the supply and price volatility of raw materials, as well as the ability of the industry to scale.
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