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 The category addresses management of risks related to collection, retention, and use of sensitive, confidential, and/or proprietary customer or user data. It includes social issues that may arise from incidents such as data breaches in which personally identifiable information (PII) and other user or customer data may be exposed. It addresses a company’s strategy, policies, and practices related to IT infrastructure, staff training, record keeping, cooperation with law enforcement, and other mechanisms used to ensure security of customer or user data.
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety
- Customer Welfare
- Selling Practices & Product Labeling
- Labor Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
- Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion The category addresses a company’s ability to ensure that its culture and hiring and promotion practices embrace the building of a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the makeup of local talent pools and its customer base. It addresses the issues of discriminatory practices on the bases of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and other factors.
Business Model & Innovation
- Product Design & Lifecycle Management
- Business Model Resilience
- Supply Chain Management
- 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:
Professional & Commercial Services
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Companies in every segment of the industry are entrusted with customer data. Employment and temporary staffing agencies as well as data providers and consulting companies store, process, and transmit increasing amounts of sensitive personal data about employees, clients, and candidates. In addition, the clients of financial and non-financial services providers are likely to handle sensitive information and may share this information with professional and commercial services companies. The exposure of sensitive customer information through cybersecurity breaches, other malicious activities, or employee negligence may result in significant risks such as identity fraud and theft. Data breaches may compromise perception of the effectiveness of a service provider’s security measures, which could result in reputational damage and adversely impact a company’s ability to attract and retain clients.
Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Workforce Diversity & Engagement
Developing a broad base of employees that are valued, respected, and supported throughout an organization is essential for the long-term growth prospects of professional and commercial services companies. Human capital is the major source of revenue generation, contributing knowledge, talent, advice, and various technical skills. While financial and non-financial service providers may have a high level of diversity among lower-level employees, they may still lack diversity among senior management. Enhancing workforce diversity, particularly among management positions, is likely to help companies attract and develop the best talent. High levels of employee engagement, fair treatment, and equitable levels of pay and advancement opportunities for all workers are all likely to contribute to increased productivity and performance through all levels of the company.
The business model of professional and commercial services companies is dependent on the development of client trust and loyalty. To ensure long-term and mutually beneficial relationships, companies seek to provide services that satisfy the highest professional standards of the industry. Professional integrity is an important governance issue in the industry, as the collective organization of professionals inside a single organization can make the detection and prevention of conflicts of interest, bias, or negligence more challenging. Training employees adequately, providing advice and distributing data free from bias and error, and taking other measures to ensure professional integrity are important both for strengthening a company’s license to operate as well as for attracting and retaining clients.
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