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
- Competitive Behavior The category covers social issues associated with existence of monopolies, which may include, but are not limited to, excessive prices, poor quality of service, and inefficiencies. It addresses a company’s management of legal and social expectation around monopolistic and anti-competitive practices, including issues related to bargaining power, collusion, price fixing or manipulation, and protection of patents and intellectual property (IP).
- 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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Most of the energy consumed in the automobile manufacturing process happens in the supply chain. The use of electricity and fossil fuels by auto parts manufacturers in their production processes results in direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Purchased electricity represents a major share of the energy used in the Auto Parts industry. Sustainability initiatives such as incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy are making alternative sources of energy more cost-competitive. Regulators and consumers are also pressuring the industry to reduce GHG emissions. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important for companies in energy-intensive industries to manage the cost and reliability risks associated with their overall energy efficiency, their reliance on different types of energy, and their access to alternative energy sources.
Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
Manufacturing auto parts involves the use of significant amounts of materials (including steel, iron, aluminum, and plastics, among others). Types of waste generated by the industry include machine lubricants and coolants, aqueous and solvent cleaning systems, paint, and scrap metals and plastics. A significant portion of auto parts manufacturers’ revenue is spent on the cost of materials. Therefore, companies that are able to manage their manufacturing inputs through reducing and recycling waste are likely to be better protected from price volatility and the risk of supply disruptions. Moreover, auto parts manufacturers can achieve savings and improve operational efficiency by increasing the amount of waste that is recycled. At the same time, auto parts manufacturers that cause negative environmental impacts through their waste management practices are likely to face regulatory oversight. Violation of environmental regulations is likely to generate legal expenses as well as capital expenditures for pollution-control facilities and occupational safety and health projects.
Product Quality & Safety
Driving is a risky activity, as distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, and dangerous weather conditions, among other factors, can lead to accidents that expose drivers, passengers, and bystanders to possible injuries and deaths. Accidents can also be caused by defective parts in vehicles, and failure to detect defects before vehicles are sold can have significant financial repercussions for both automobile and auto parts manufacturers. Ensuring vehicle safety and responding in a timely manner when defects are identified can protect auto parts companies from regulatory action or customer lawsuits, which might otherwise result in significant costs. It can also help them retain their relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which often select Tier 1 suppliers based on their safety performance and reliability. As cars incorporate more sophisticated electronics and other technologies, the risks related to recalls may increase. Through effective management of product safety, auto parts companies can enhance their reputation and drive higher sales over the long term.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
Design for Fuel Efficiency
Automobile manufacturers are increasingly demanding motor parts and components that can help reduce the fuel consumption of the vehicles they sell. Fuel-efficient components and parts play a vital role in reducing tailpipe emissions of automobiles through energy efficiency gains and contributions to weight reductions, among other factors. Auto parts companies that can design and manufacture such parts will be better positioned to increase sales to auto manufacturers that are increasingly facing stricter environmental regulations and customer preferences for more environmentally friendly cars.
Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
Companies in the Auto Parts industry commonly rely on rare earth metals and other critical materials as key inputs for finished products. Many of these inputs have few or no available substitutes and are often sourced from deposits concentrated in few countries, many of which are subject to geopolitical uncertainty. Other sustainability impacts related to climate change, land use, resource scarcity, and conflict in regions where the industry’s supply chain operates are also increasingly shaping the industry’s ability to source materials. Additionally, increased competition for these materials due to growing global demand from other sectors can result in price increases and supply risks. These materials play a crucial role in clean energy technologies, such as electric and hybrid vehicles. As regulators aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consumer demand grows for more fuel-efficient vehicles, the share of hybrids and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) produced by the Automobiles industry is likely to continue to increase in the future. Companies that are able to limit the use of critical materials, secure their sourcing, and develop alternatives will protect themselves from supply disruptions and volatile input prices, which may impact their margins, risk profile, and cost of capital.
Millions of vehicles worldwide reach the end of their useful lives every year. At the same time, the rate of vehicle ownership is expanding globally, leading to more end-of-life vehicles. To lower the lifecycle impact of vehicles, auto parts manufacturers can design their parts to be easily recyclable and reusable and can apply modularity principles to product design. They can also create take-back programs to ensure safe disposal and reuse of the products. Given input price volatility and resource constraints, auto parts companies that manage materials efficiency are likely to improve their long-term operational efficiency and strengthen their risk profile. In addition, companies can potentially reduce their manufacturing costs by using fewer materials and/or recycling materials, which will improve margins.
Competitive business practices are an important governance issue for companies in the Auto Parts industry. Although industry concentration is low, there is a wide range of auto parts, and competition for business within each category of parts may not be robust. Thus, leading producers of any specific auto part may wield substantial market power in that segment, creating antitrust concerns. Collusion and price fixing by auto parts manufacturers ultimately leads to costs being passed on to consumers through higher vehicle prices. If involvement in such activities is discovered, the imposed penalties and reputational damage may have an acute impact on a company’s valuation and balance sheet.
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