The Sustainability Yearbook 2009
SAM completed its 10
assessment of corporate sus-tainability practices for the Dow Jones SustainabilityIndexes (DJSI) in September. Over this decade, SAMhas witnessed an evolution in businesses’ attitudestowards sustainability. During the late 1990s, inte-gration of sustainability into business processes wasdriven primarily by regulatory requirements for cor-porate governance and compliance. Today, compa-nies are adopting a much more proactive approachto sustainability as the issues become essential bothfor performance and investment.Participation in SAM’s annual Corporate Sustain-ability Assessment has almost doubled since 1999,reflecting the change of attitude towards sustain-ability from companies. The increased company en-gagement in the assessment has been experiencedacross all geographies with European companiesthe most active in this regard.The leading companies have started looking beyondthe first generation of sustainability themes, suchas corporate governance and codes of conduct, andare becoming increasingly aware of the sustaina-
bility risks and opportunities relevant to their sector.This increased awareness of sector specific issues,and more focused corporate activity, is definingthedifference between sustainability leaders and lagg-ards. SAM has been proactively following thesemove-ments and has gradually increased the proportionof industry-specific criteria in its assessments from30 percent in 2001 to 57 percent in 2008. The risingweight of industry-specific criteria reflects SAM’sconviction that sector relevant sustainability oppor-tunities and risks play a growing role in the long-term success of companies and are therefore crucialin the identification of sustainability leaders.SAM foresees that integration of sustainability crit-eria into traditional financial valuations will allow in-vestors to gain a deeper insight into the selection ofstocks that are less vulnerable to crises. SAM be-lieves these stocks will have an attractive long-termreturn potential. As economies adapt to the currentfinancial crisis, there will be an unprecedentedchange in the attitude towards sustainability, with anincreasing number of companies adopting sustain-able concepts. Factors such as increased socialawareness and media attention, increasing prices ofenergy and raw materials, changinglegislations, andfurther technological innovation will drive the needfor further integration of sustainability concepts instock selection. This changing landscape will bringabout many new opportunities for companieswhich have embraced sustainability as a core strat-egy and will pose new risks and challengesfor theuninitiated.The fifth Sustainability Yearbook, published by SAMand PricewaterhouseCoopers, presents insights into57 sectors and 367 companies. The best companiesfrom each sector qualify as a “SAM Sector Leader”.In addition, those firms from each sector that haveshown the greatest relative improvement in theirsustainability performance are given the distinctionof “SAM Sector Mover”.
Samuel A. DiPiazza, Jr.
Sander van Eijkern
CEOSAM Sustainable AssetManagement AG