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 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 The category addresses environmental issues associated with hazardous and non-hazardous waste generated by companies. It addresses a company’s management of solid wastes in manufacturing, agriculture, and other industrial processes. It covers treatment, handling, storage, disposal, and regulatory compliance. The category does not cover emissions to air or wastewater nor does it cover waste from end-of-life of products, which are addressed in separate categories.
- 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
- 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 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:
Electrical & Electronic Equipment
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Electrical and electronic equipment companies may use significant amounts of energy. Purchased electricity represents the largest share of energy expenditures in the industry, followed by purchased fuels. The type of energy used, magnitude of consumption, and energy management strategies depends on the type of products manufactured. A company’s energy mix, including the use of electricity generated on-site, grid-sourced electricity, and the use of alternative energy, can play an important role in lowering the cost and increasing the reliability of energy supply, and ultimately affect the company’s cost structure and exposure to regulatory shifts.
Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
Hazardous Waste Management
Electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing may generate hazardous waste, including but not limited to heavy metals and wastewater treatment sludge. Companies face regulatory and operational challenges in managing waste, as some wastes are subject to regulations pertaining to their transport, treatment, storage, and disposal. Waste management strategies include reduced generation, effective treatment and disposal, and recycling and recovery, where possible. Such activities, while requiring initial investment or operating costs, can lower companies’ long-term cost structure and mitigate the risk of remediation liabilities or regulatory penalties.
Product Quality & Safety
The proper and safe functioning of electrical and electronic equipment is an important issue because of potential risks to customers, including electrical fires. In the event of a product safety incident, companies could be exposed to product liability claims, revenue loss due to damaged reputation, redesign costs, recalls, litigation, or fines. Proper safety procedures, tests, and protocols for products can help companies reduce the risk of such adverse impacts and strengthen a company’s brand.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Product Lifecycle Management
Electrical and electronic equipment companies face increasing challenges and opportunities associated with environmental and social externalities that stem from the use of their products. Regulations are incentivizing companies to reduce or eliminate the use of harmful chemicals in their products. To a lesser extent, regulations and customers are driving companies to lower the environmental footprint of their products in the use phase, primarily in terms of energy intensity. Electrical and electronic equipment companies that develop cost-effective products and solutions for energy efficiency can benefit from increased revenues and market share, stronger competitive positioning, and enhanced brand value. Similarly, products with reduced chemical safety concerns can provide opportunities for increased market share.
Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
Electrical and electronic equipment companies are exposed to supply chain risks when critical materials are used in products. Companies in the industry manufacture products using critical materials with few or no available substitutes, many of which are sourced from deposits concentrated in only a few countries which are subject to geopolitical uncertainty. Companies in this industry also face competition due to increasing global demand for these materials from other sectors, which can result in price increases and supply risks. Companies that are able to limit the use of critical materials through use of alternatives, as well as secure their supply, can mitigate the potential for financial impacts stemming from supply disruptions and volatile input prices.
Electrical and electronic equipment manufacturers may be vulnerable to regulatory scrutiny of business ethics because of their operations in regions with weaker government enforcement of business ethics laws. Companies in this industry have been found in violation of corruption laws such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the U.K. Bribery Act, as well as anti-competitive behavior. Unethical practices may jeopardize future revenue growth due to reputational risks and can result in significant legal costs and a higher risk profile. As such, strong governance practices can mitigate the risk of violations of business ethics laws and resulting regulatory penalties or brand-value impacts.
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