Tobacco firm BAT and Korea’s Samsung added to global Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Annual review of long-established sustainability index is published

Tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT) has been added to the latest global version of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World).

It comes just days after it emerged that tobacco companies face exclusion from the world’s largest corporate sustainability platform, the UN Global Compact.

Also newly added to the DJSI World is South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics, which has become mired in a corruption scandal.

The index is put together by index firm S&P Dow Jones Indices based on analysis by sustainability house RobecoSAM; it uses a ‘best in class’ approach, which highlights leaders in each industry. The pair released their annual DJSI review today.

A RobecoSAM spokesperson said that based on the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) methodology, which focuses on financially material ESG aspects, BAT and Samsung are eligible for the inclusion in the DJSI World.

“Regarding BAT’s inclusion in the DJSI, nine listed tobacco firms were invited to participate in the Corporate Sustainability Assessment.

“Following the best-in-class approach, only the 10% best performing companies from each industry are selected for the DJSI World. Therefore, out of nine companies, BAT is the only tobacco firm to be selected for the index.”As for Samsung, RobecoSAM said: “We are aware of the situation at Samsung, have taken it into account in the 2017 DJSI review by reflecting it in the company scores, according to RobecoSAM’s rules and facts based assessment methodology.

“Samsung’s adequate communication and appropriate measures in response to the scandal meant that no further actions were necessary. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.” It reserves the right to make further adjustments to company scores, ranking and index inclusion “as necessary”.

The rankings are based on a comprehensive questionnaire with detailed criteria on some 20 different categories relating to economic, environmental and social responsibility.

The largest deletions from the global index are pipeline firm Enbridge, UK household products group Reckitt Benckiser and mining giant Rio Tinto.

The RobecoSAM spokesperson added that detailed results of its assessments “are only shared with companies”, though firms’ relative position among industry peers will be released on Bloomberg by mid-September.

The new component lists for the DJSI will be published on the RobecoSAM website on September 11; all changes are effective on September 18.