SAM broadens annual corporate sustainability assessment to emerging markets

Extra 800 companies are invited to participate

Zurich-based sustainability boutique SAM has broadened its annual assessment of corporate sustainability to include a further 800 companies in 21 emerging markets countries.

The countries include: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

The annual assessment – now in its 14th year – is used as the basis for the construction of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

SAM, which has $11.4bn (€8.7bn) in assets under management and which is part of Dutch-based Robeco, is inviting the 2,500 largest companies worldwide, by free float market capitalization, to complete the annual questionnaire.

The survey features more than 100 questions on financially material economic, environmental and social practices.Over half of the questions are industry-specific while the rest look at general sustainability issues such as corporate governance, product stewardship and human resources.

“Sustainability changes the competitive environment in which companies operate by presenting opportunities as well as risks,” said Daniel Wild, Head of Research SAM. “Firms that are not considering how sustainability is affecting their business will fall behind.”

It comes as SAM this month celebrated the five-year anniversary of its Sustainable Healthy Living and Sustainable Climate equity funds.

Meanwhile, SAM is featuring an in-depth six-page interview on sustainability issues with Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips Electronics. He describes how the company prioritises sustainability criteria over short-term financials. He adds: “But interestingly, the profitability of our green products is on average higher than that of the traditional products.”