SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

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1 SASB PROPOSAL Issue Date: April 7, 2016 Comments Due: July 6, 2016 Amendments to: SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board The SASB issued this Exposure Draft to solicit public comment on the Conceptual Framework that will guide its post-provisional standard-setting activities. Individuals can submit written comments, in the form of a letter on official letterhead, to

2 SUMMARY AND QUESTION(S) FOR RESPONDENTS Introduction to SICS To address the market need for standardized disclosure of material sustainability information, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) began developing sustainability accounting standards in In embarking on this project, one of the first decisions the SASB had to make was determining the number of industries for which sustainability accounting standards would be developed. Traditional industry classification systems organize companies into groups based on similar business models, sources and seasonality of revenue, and behavior in financial markets. This approach allows market participants to assess the impact of traditional industry trends on a portfolio, and analyze sector and/or industry contributions to portfolio performance. While analyzing the applicability of these traditional classification systems in the context of sustainability accounting standards development, the SASB realized the philosophy underpinning the basis for classification in these systems frequently produced industry categorizations that were either too granular or not granular enough in terms of shared sustainability characteristics. To gain efficiencies in workflow for standards development, the SASB needed to group like industries in terms of their sustainability risks and opportunities. Additionally, industries needed to contain peer companies that have similar types of impacts, for ultimate benchmarking of performance as well as applicability of the sustainability accounting standards. In order to address this shortcoming, the SASB developed the Sustainable Industry Classification System (SICS ). SICS groups companies into industries based on shared sustainability risks and opportunities. In essence, the taxonomy is based on industries sustainability profiles. This approach adds value to traditional systems by considering the importance of non-financial factors and their impacts on companies and investment decisions, as well as by providing another lens through which to understand the complexities of the marketplace. Sustainability issues affect different industries in various ways. Analyzing the likelihood for material impacts related to sustainability issues requires an understanding of the specific impact of business on society and the environment, as well as the impact of sustainability issues on business. SICS was developed with this in mind. SICS is linked to the Bloomberg Industry Classification System (BICS), and has a multi-level taxonomy consisting of 10 thematic sectors, 35 sub-industries and 79 industries. The differences between SICS and traditional classification systems can be categorized in three broad groups: 1. Creation of new thematic sectors (e.g., the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy sectors) 1

3 2. Reclassification of industries into different sectors (e.g., the classification of the Airlines and Automobile industries as part of the Transportation thematic sector, rather than the Consumer Discretionary sector) 3. Surfacing industries with unique sustainability profiles (e.g., the Wind Energy, Solar Energy, and Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries industries) Investors, corporations, academics, and other stakeholders increasingly acknowledge the link between sustainability and financial performance. Embedding sustainability factors into traditional market tools, such as industry classification systems, enriches the array of tools stakeholders have at their disposal to understand an ever-changing marketplace. For investors, SICS offers a different way to assess the risk profile of their sector allocations and investment portfolios, and to better analyze cross-cutting sustainability issues; these assessments could influence their investment decisions. As evidence, a 2015 Harvard Business School working paper by Khan, Serafeim, and Yoon used company-specific data on sustainability investments, calendar-time portfolio stock regressions, and the SASB s determination of material industry-specific issues for several SICS industries and found that firms with good performance on material sustainability issues significantly outperform firms with poor performance, suggesting that investments in sustainability issues are value-enhancing. 1 The study also found that companies with good performance on material issues and concurrently poor performance on immaterial ones perform the best; this finding has profound implications regarding the effectiveness of companies sustainability investments and investors sustainability integration strategies. Further, it demonstrates how considering sustainability impacts from an industry-specific perspective can provide useful insights for both of these activities. Rationale for Proposed Amendments The SASB started developing sustainability accounting standards in 2012 and by the end of Q1 2016, the provisional standards for industries in the last sector, Infrastructure, will be released. With the public release of the Infrastructure standards, the SASB will have had developed standards for the 79 industries currently in SICS. Since its inception, the SICS taxonomy has grouped like companies and industries in terms of their sustainability profiles. Since 2012, as a natural consequence of the SASB s standards-development work, the SASB s understanding of each industry s sustainability characteristics has increased considerably. Today, armed with an almost full set of provisional standards, the SASB has the opportunity to have a second look at the original SICS taxonomy and propose changes that better serve the classification system s purpose. Overview of Key Amendments The following list summarizes the key amendments being proposed; additional information on the rationale behind these suggested changes is provided under the Proposed Amendments section below. 1 Khan, Mozaffar et al Corporate Sustainability: First Evidence on Materiality. Harvard Business School Working Paper. 2

4 Separate the Convenience Stores segment of the current Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores industry [CN0402], and include it as part of the Food Retailers & Distributors industry [CN0401] instead. Rename the Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores industry [CN0402] as Drug Retailers. Move the Drug Retailers industry [CN0402] from the Consumption sector to the Health Care sector. Move the E-Commerce industry [CN0404] from the Consumption sector, to the Technology & Communications sector. Move the Restaurants industry [SV0203] from the Services sector to the Consumption sector. Split the Consumption sector into two different sectors named Food & Beverage and Consumer Goods. Merge the Cable & Satellite industry [SV0303], currently under the Services sector, with the Telecommunications industry [TC0301], currently under the Technology & Communications sector. Rename the new industry as Telecommunication Services and include it in the Technology & Communications sector. Move the Cruise Lines industry [SV0205] from the Services sector to the Transportation sector. Please refer to Annex 1 and 2 below. Annex 1 includes the current SICS taxonomy, which can also be accessed online, while Annex 2 incorporates, and tracks, the amendments to SICS discussed below. Question(s) for Respondents 1. Does each amendment proposed below improve SICS to bring it more in line with its purpose of grouping like industries based on the similarities of their sustainability profiles and shared sustainability risks, and opportunities? If so, how? If not, why not? If an amendment is required for a particular industry discussed below, what alternative amendment would improve SICS for greater alignment with its intended purpose? 2. Do the proposed changes to SICS improve its usefulness for sector and industry analysis and portfolio construction according to sustainability risks and opportunities? 3. Are the proposed changes to SICS likely to add a substantial cost burden for entities currently using SICS or considering using SICS, that would outweigh the benefits? Please explain. 4. The SASB is also seeking input on a specific question related to a Health Care segment. Please see Item 8 for more information. 3

5 PROPOSED AMENDMENTS Item 1 Proposal: (1.1) Separate the Convenience Stores segment of the current Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores industry [CN0402], and include it as part of the Food Retailers & Distributors industry [CN0401] instead. (1.2) Rename the Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores industry [CN0402] as Drug Retailers. Rationale: The Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores industry is dominated by the drug retailers segment in terms of industry revenues. As a result, the Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores industry standards were developed with a focus on the drug retailers segment, and include sustainability topics and metrics more directly relevant to that segment; these topics deal with, among others, the proper management of controlled substances and ensuring the integrity of the drug supply chain. Convenience stores typically sell products that are more similar to those in the Food Retailers & Distributors industry than in the drug retailers segment, such as groceries and beverages. As such, the sustainability risks and opportunities that convenience stores face are more aligned with those faced by food retailers, as evidenced by topics in the Food Retailers & Distributors industry. These include, among others, fair labor practices, addressing changing consumer preferences regarding health and nutrition, and managing environmental and social impacts in the supply chain. Item 2 Proposal: Move the Drug Retailers industry [CN0402] (see Item 1) from the Consumption sector to the Health Care sector. Rationale: The sustainability profile of the Drug Retailers industry is more closely aligned with that of other health care industries than that of industries involved in the manufacturing and/or retailing of consumer staples and/or other consumer goods, which is the main focus of the current Consumption sector. Sustainability topics related to patient health outcomes, data security and privacy, counterfeit drugs, and controlled substances are shared among drug retailers, health care distributors, health care facilities, and managed care companies, all of which are currently grouped in the Health Care sector. 4

6 Item 3 Proposal: Move the E-Commerce industry [CN0404] from the Consumption sector, to the Technology & Communications sector. Rationale: E-commerce companies were originally included alongside other brick-and-mortar retailers based on the assumption that they would share sustainability characteristics of retailing operations chiefly, the sustainability implications of managing a complex supply chain. However, based on the evidence of financial impact and evidence of interest in the SASB s standardsdevelopment work, the topics and metrics included in the provisional standard for the E- Commerce industry are more closely aligned with those of other technology industries in particular Internet Media & Services [TC0401] and Software & IT Services [TC0102]. Some of these topics include data security and fraud protection; data privacy; employee recruitment, development, and retention; and managing the energy and water footprint of hardware infrastructure. Furthermore, the business models and product/service offerings of E-commerce companies evolve more quickly than those of traditional retailers; in that context, the industry is more in sync with technology companies, which might indicate further convergence in sustainability profiles in the future. Item 4 Proposal: Move the Restaurants industry [SV0203] from the Services sector to the Consumption sector. Rationale: Originally the Restaurants industry was included under the Services sector alongside other hospitality and recreation industries. The rationale was that service-oriented industries (e.g., Hotels & Lodging [SV0201] and Leisure Facilities [SV0204]) would have similar sustainability profiles, mainly in the context of human capital challenges such as fair labor practices, fair compensation, and the recruitment, retention, and development of human resources. The set of topics and metrics included in the provisional standards for these industries supports this rationale. However, the Restaurants industry also shares its sustainability profile with other food and beverage product manufacturing, distribution, and retailing industries. Commonalities among these industries include: food safety, changing consumer preferences toward improved nutritional content, food waste, sustainable packaging, and food sourcing risks in the supply chain. The proposed move, alongside Item 5 below, would create a sector solely focused on the value chain of food and beverage. 5

7 Item 5 Proposal: Split the Consumption sector into two different sectors named Food & Beverage and Consumer Goods with the following industries in each: Food & Beverage Agricultural Products Meat, Poultry & Dairy Processed Foods Non-Alcoholic Beverages Alcoholic Beverages Tobacco Food Retailers & Distributors Restaurants (see Item 4 above) Consumer Goods Apparel, Accessories & Footwear Appliance Manufacturing Household & Personal Products Building Products & Furnishings Toys & Sporting Goods Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors The taxonomy above reflects the implementation of the proposed split of the Consumption sector, as well as the changes proposed in Items 1 through 4 above. Rationale: The Consumption sector currently comprises the following 15 industries: Agricultural Products Meat, Poultry & Dairy Processed Foods Non-Alcoholic Beverages Alcoholic Beverages Tobacco Food Retailers & Distributors Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores (see Items 1 and 2 above) Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors E-commerce (see Item 3 above) Apparel, Accessories & Footwear Appliance Manufacturing Household & Personal Products Building Products & Furnishings Toys & Sporting Goods The current Consumption sector includes industries involved in the manufacturing and/or retailing of consumer staples and/or other consumer goods; however, there is a clear distinction in sustainability challenges faced by companies involved in the production and distribution of products intended for direct human consumption i.e. food, beverage, and tobacco versus those involved in the manufacturing and distribution of other non-food, non-beverage consumer goods. Some of the topics relevant across industries in the new Food & Beverage sector include, among others, food safety, nutritional content, water and energy intensity of operations, managing the environmental and social impacts of food production, as well as environmental risks faced by food and animal supply chains. Conversely, the standards for the industries grouped in the new Consumer Goods sector would share a similar focus on a set of topics involving the use of chemicals in products, their environmental lifecycle impacts, as well as materials sourcing and (mainly social and labor-related) supply chain management challenges. 6

8 Item 6 Proposal: (6.1) Merge the Cable & Satellite industry [SV0303], currently under the Services sector, with the Telecommunications industry [TC0301], currently under the Technology & Communications. (6.2) Rename the new industry as Telecommunication Services and include it in the Technology & Communications sector. Rationale: Companies in both industries have significant overlap in activities e.g., phone, Internet, and cable services and industry trends suggest future consolidation and more expected convergence in the near to medium term given technology trends (e.g., Comcast s thwarted bid to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC), AT&T s acquisition of DirecTV, Charter Communications proposed purchase of TWC, and Dish Network s attempt to acquire T-Mobile). SASB provisional standards for both industries address similar topics that center on data privacy, data security, managing systemic risks from technology disruptions, and ensuring competitive behavior, among others. Item 7 Proposal: Move the Cruise Lines industry [SV0205] from the Services sector to the Transportation sector. Rationale: Originally the Cruise Lines industry was included under the Services sector alongside other tourism, hospitality, and recreation industries. The rationale was that serviceoriented industries (e.g. Hotels & Lodging [SV0201] and Leisure Facilities [SV0204]) would have similar sustainability profiles, mainly in the context of customer safety and human capital challenges such as fair labor practices, fair compensation, and the recruitment, retention, and development of human resources. The set of topics and metrics included in the provisional standards for these industries supports this rationale. However, the Cruise Lines industry is unique among this group in that it also serves as a mode of transportation. This is reflected in the industry s provisional standard, which is similar to that for the Marine Transportation industry. Commonalities among these industries include: the environmental footprint of fuel use; managing ecological impacts from operations; ensuring on-board safety for passengers and/or crew; and overall accident and safety management. 7

9 Item 8 Proposal: Add the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) segment, which is currently not considered under any SICS industry, to the Managed Care [HC0303] industry. Rationale: The PBMs segment shares economic value drivers and thus is likely to share sustainability characteristics with the Managed Care industry. Because the industry s business model, like Managed Care, is focused on more efficient delivery of medical services, topics and metrics focused on pricing transparency, customer welfare, and customer privacy are likely relevant. Item 9 The following set of items which for the most part deal with minor changes to SICS are included here mainly for notification purposes; interested parties are nonetheless welcome to provide comments as they see fit. Some of the changes described below involve the renaming of industries either as a result of the SASB s own research and/or external stakeholder feedback, while some others involve the addition of segments from within BICS (which were previously not considered under SICS due to their size and/or niche operations) to existing SICS industries. Item 9.1: Rename the Electric Utilities industry [IF0101], currently under the Infrastructure sector, as Electric Utilities & Power Generators. Item 9.2: Rename the Gas Utilities industry [IF0102], currently under the Infrastructure sector, as Gas Utilities & Distributors. Item 9.3: Rename the Water Utilities industry [IF0103], currently under the Infrastructure sector, as Water Utilities & Services. Item 9.4: Rename the Real Estate Owners, Developers & Investment Trusts industry [IF0402], currently under the Infrastructure sector, as Real Estate. Item 9.5: Rename the Forestry & Logging industry [RR0201], currently under the Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy sector, as Forestry Management. Item 9.6: Add the Food Service Contractors and Caterers segments, which are currently not mapped to any SICS industry, to the Restaurants industry [SV0203], currently under the Services sector (see Item 4 above for a proposal affecting this industry). Item 9.7: (9.7.1) Add the Receivable Collection & Management, Security Services, Printing Services, and Building Maintenance Services segments, which are currently not mapped to any SICS industry, to the Professional Services industry [SV0102], currently under the Services sector. 8

10 (9.7.2) Rename the industry as Professional & Business Support Services. Item 9.8: (9.8.1) Add the Commercial Finance segment, which is currently not mapped to any SICS industry and which includes companies involved in the provision of loans and other financing activities to businesses, such as commercial and transportation equipment finance and leasing to the Commercial Banks industry [FN0101]. (9.8.2) Rename the industry as Commercial Banking & Finance. 9

11 ANNEX 1: CURRENT SICS TAXONOMY The table below includes the 79 industries currently included in SICS (and for which the SASB will have developed provisional sustainability accounting standards by the end of Q1 2016). Annex 2, below, includes a similar table which incorporates, and highlights, the amendments proposed above. NR0000 Non-Renewable NR0100 Oil & Gas NR0101 Oil & Gas - Exploration & Production Resources NR0102 Oil & Gas - Midstream NR0103 Oil & Gas - Refining & Marketing NR0104 Oil & Gas - Services NR0200 Coal NR0201 Coal Operations NR0300 Metals & Mining NR0301 Iron & Steel Producers NR0302 Metals & Mining NR0400 Construction Materials NR0401 Construction Materials RR0000 Renewable RR0100 Alternative Energy RR0101 Biofuels Resources & RR0102 Solar Energy Alternative Energy RR0103 Wind Energy RR0104 Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries RR0200 Forestry & Paper RR0201 Forestry & Logging RR0202 Pulp & Paper Products RT0000 Resource RT0100 Chemicals RT0101 Chemicals Transformation RT0200 Industrials RT0201 Aerospace & Defense RT0202 Electrical & Electronic Equipment RT0203 Industrial Machinery & Goods RT0204 Containers & Packaging CN0000 Consumption CN0100 Food CN0101 Agricultural Products CN0102 Meat, Poultry, & Dairy CN0103 Processed Foods CN0200 Beverages CN0201 Non-Alcoholic Beverages CN0202 Alcoholic Beverages CN0300 Tobacco CN0301 Tobacco CN0400 Retailers CN0401 Food Retailers & Distributors CN0402 Drug Retailers & Convenience Stores CN0403 Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors CN0404 E-commerce CN0500 Apparel & Textiles CN0501 Apparel, Accessories & Footwear CN0600 Consumer Discretionary CN0601 Appliance Manufacturing Products CN0602 Household & Personal Products CN0603 Building Products & Furnishings CN0604 Toys & Sporting Goods TC0000 Technology & TC0100 Technology Electronic Manufacturing Services & TC 0101 Communications Original Design Manufacturing TC0102 Software & IT Services TC0103 Hardware TC0200 Semiconductors TC0201 Semiconductors TC0300 Telecommunications TC0301 Telecommunications TC0400 Internet Media & Services TC0401 Internet Media & Services SV0000 Services SV0100 Consumer Services SV0101 Education SV0102 Professional Services SV0200 Hospitality & Recreation SV0201 Hotels & Lodging SV0202 Casinos & Gaming SV0203 Restaurants SV0204 Leisure Facilities SV0205 Cruise Lines SV0300 Media SV0301 Advertising & Marketing SV0302 Media Production & Distribution SV0303 Cable & Satellite IF0000 Infrastructure IF0100 Utilities IF0101 Electric Utilities IF0102 Gas Utilities 10

12 IF0103 Water Utilities IF0200 Waste Management IF0201 Waste Management IF0300 Infrastructure IF0301 Engineering & Construction Services IF0400 Real Estate IF0401 Home Builders IF0402 Real Estate Owners, Developers and Investment Trusts IF0403 Real Estate Services TR0000 Transportation TR0100 Automobiles TR0101 Automobiles TR0102 Auto Parts TR0103 Car Rental & Leasing TR0200 Air Transportation TR0201 Airlines TR0202 Air Freight & Logistics TR0300 Marine Transportation TR0301 Marine Transportation TR0400 Land Transportation TR0401 Rail Transportation TR0402 Road Transportation FN0000 Financials FN0100 Banking & Investment FN0101 Commercial Banks Banking FN0102 Investment Banking & Brokerage FN0103 Asset Management & Custody Activities FN0200 Specialty Finance FN0201 Consumer Finance FN0202 Mortgage Finance FN0203 Security & Commodity Exchanges FN0300 Insurance FN0301 Insurance HC0000 Health Care HC0100 Biotechnology & HC0101 Biotechnology Pharmaceuticals HC0102 Pharmaceuticals HC0200 Medical Technology HC0201 Medical Equipment & Supplies HC0300 Health Care Providers HC0301 Health Care Delivery HC0302 Health Care Distributors HC0303 Managed Care 11

13 ANNEX 2: PROPOSED SICS TAXONOMY The table below incorporates the proposed amendments described in Items 1 through 9 above. Highlighted cells indicate amendments where industries would migrate across sectors. Red text indicates amendments to industry names, either as a result of the addition or subtraction of particular industry segments, or as a result of stakeholder feedback provided to the SASB during the standards development process. For the purposes of this table, and to help readers track changes between the current and proposed taxonomies, SICS industry codes have not been changed from to the prior table. If changes to SICS are incorporated after this Public Comment Period, SICS industry codes will be amended accordingly. NR0000 Non-Renewable Resources NR0100 Oil & Gas NR0101 Oil & Gas - Exploration & Production NR0102 Oil & Gas - Midstream NR0103 Oil & Gas - Refining & Marketing NR0104 Oil & Gas - Services NR0200 Coal NR0201 Coal Operations NR0300 Metals & Mining NR0301 Iron & Steel Producers NR0302 Metals & Mining NR0400 Construction Materials NR0401 Construction Materials RR0000 Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy RT0000 Resource Transformation RR0100 Alternative Energy RR0101 Biofuels RR0102 Solar Energy RR0103 Wind Energy RR0104 Fuel Cells & Industrial Batteries RR0200 Forestry & Paper RR0201 Forestry Management RR0202 Pulp & Paper Products RT0100 Chemicals RT0101 Chemicals RT0200 Industrials RT0201 Aerospace & Defense RT0202 Electrical & Electronic Equipment RT0203 Industrial Machinery & Goods RT0204 Containers & Packaging FB0000 Food & Beverage CN0100 Food CN0101 Agricultural Products CN0102 Meat, Poultry, & Dairy CN0103 Processed Foods CN0200 Beverages CN0201 Non-Alcoholic Beverages CN0202 Alcoholic Beverages CN0300 Tobacco CN0301 Tobacco NEW Food & Beverage Retail CN0401 Food Retailers & Distributors NEW Restaurants SV0203 Restaurants CG0000 Consumer Goods CN0500 Apparel & Textiles CN0501 Apparel, Accessories & Footwear CN0600 Consumer Discretionary Products CN0601 CN0602 Appliance Manufacturing Household & Personal Products 12

14 TC0000 Technology and Communications NEW Consumer Goods Retail TC0100 Technology CN0603 CN0604 CN0403 TC 0101 TC0102 TC0103 Building Products & Furnishings Toys & Sporting Goods Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors Electronic Manufacturing Services & Original Design Manufacturing Software & IT Services Hardware TC0200 Semiconductors TC0201 Semiconductors TC0300 Telecommunications TC0301 Telecommunication Services TC0400 Internet Media & Services TC0401 CN0404 Internet Media & Services E-commerce SV0000 Services SV0100 Consumer Services SV0101 Education SV0102 SV0200 Hospitality & Recreation SV0201 Hotels & Lodging Professional & Business Support Services SV0202 SV0204 Casinos & Gaming Leisure Facilities SV0300 Media SV0301 Advertising & Marketing SV0302 Media Production & Distribution IF0000 Infrastructure IF0100 Utilities IF0101 Electric Utilities & Power Generators IF0102 Gas Utilities & Distributors IF0103 Water Utilities & Services IF0200 Waste Management IF0201 Waste Management IF0300 Infrastructure IF0301 Engineering & Construction Services IF0400 Real Estate IF0401 Home Builders IF0402 Real Estate IF0403 Real Estate Services TR0000 Transportation TR0100 Automobiles TR0101 Automobiles TR0102 Auto Parts TR0103 Car Rental & Leasing TR0200 Air Transportation TR0201 Airlines TR0202 Air Freight & Logistics TR0300 Marine Transportation TR0301 Marine Transportation SV0205 Cruise Lines TR0400 Land Transportation TR0401 Rail Transportation FN0000 Financials FN0100 Banking & Investment Banking TR0402 FN0101 FN0102 FN0103 Road Transportation Commercial Banking & Finance Investment Banking & Brokerage FN0200 Specialty Finance FN0201 Consumer Finance Asset Management & Custody Activities FN0202 FN0203 Mortgage Finance Security & Commodity Exchanges 13

15 FN0300 Insurance FN0301 Insurance HC0000 Health Care HC0100 Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals HC0101 HC0102 Biotechnology Pharmaceuticals HC0200 Medical Technology HC0201 Medical Equipment & Supplies HC0300 Health Care Providers HC0301 Health Care Delivery HC0302 HC0303 CN0402 Health Care Distributors Managed Care Drug Retailers 14

16 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board 1045 Sansome Street, Suite 450 San Francisco, CA sasb.org

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