Relevant Issues (3 of 26)
Why are some issues greyed out?The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.
- GHG Emissions
- Air Quality
- Energy Management
- Water & Wastewater Management
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability
Product Quality & SafetyThe 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
- Labour Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
- Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Business Model and Innovation
- Product Design & Lifecycle Management
- Business Model Resilience
Supply Chain ManagementThe category addresses management of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks within a company’s supply chain. It addresses issues associated with environmental and social externalities created by suppliers through their operational activities. Such issues include, but are not limited to, environmental responsibility, human rights, labour practices, and ethics and corruption. Management may involve screening, selection, monitoring, and engagement with suppliers on their environmental and social impacts. The category does not address the impacts of external factors – such as climate change and other environmental and social factors – on suppliers’ operations and/or on the availability and pricing of key resources, which is covered in a separate category.
Materials Sourcing & EfficiencyThe 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 and Governance
- Business Ethics
- Competitive Behaviour
- Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
- Critical Incident Risk Management
- Systemic Risk Management
Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Apparel, Accessories & Footwear
Management of Chemicals in Products
Chemical safety regulations demonstrate regulatory and stakeholder concern surrounding the use of harmful or potentially harmful substances in consumer products, including apparel, accessories and footwear. Finished apparel and footwear products have been found to contain traces of chemicals that have been banned or regulated. Depending on the chemical, the amount present in a product and the type of exposure, specific substances can be carcinogenic and can disrupt hormone activity in humans and other organisms. Failure to manage this issue may generate increased regulatory oversight and affect an entity’s social licence to operate. The presence of harmful chemicals in products can result in recalls, litigation and reputational damage. Entities in this industry can examine the design, manufacturing and end-of-life phases to manage the creation, use and disposal of products containing chemicals of concern, develop safe alternatives and eliminate banned chemicals. Given the industry’s reliance on outsourced manufacturing, this involves proactive partnerships with suppliers. In managing this issue, entities must balance the hazards posed by some chemicals against the quality of a product and its costs of production.
Environmental Impacts in the Supply Chain
The Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry’s global supply chain contributes significantly to adverse environmental externalities through water consumption and various forms of pollution. Water pollution results from the discharge of chemicals during water-intensive dyeing and tanning processes. Air pollution stems from the industry’s energy use and some manufacturing processes. These impacts have the potential to damage an entity’s reputation and to affect cost structures over time. The scale of this issue has been intensified historically by the industry relying on manufacturing partners in emerging markets with limited environmental regulations and oversight. However, enhanced stakeholder and consumer scrutiny, coupled with increasingly stringent regulation in some regions, has encouraged entities throughout the industry to work with suppliers to reduce their environmental impact. Apparel, Accessories & Footwear entities that leverage their market power to influence suppliers to improve operational efficiencies and resource consumption and limit pollution can mitigate the costs associated with increased resource scarcity and regulation. Further, those that engage with suppliers through monitoring, auditing and strict standards may better preserve shareholder value over the long term.
Labour Conditions in the Supply Chain
The treatment of workers and the protection of worker rights in the Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry’s supply chain is of growing concern among consumers, regulators and leading entities. Critical aspects of this issue include employee health and safety, fair pay, child labour and forced labour. Although many entities strive to improve supply chain labour conditions, the industry’s reliance on a multitiered system of suppliers, subcontractors, labour recruitment firms and part-time workers makes these issues difficult to manage. Because entities in the industry typically contract with suppliers in countries with the lowest direct costs, the industry’s products often are manufactured in countries with limited regulations or enforcement protecting workers. This dynamic can increase an entity’s exposure to reputational risks. Effects on short- and long-term costs and sales can arise from increasing regulation and enforcement in response to high-profile safety or labour incidents, production disruptions because of strikes and other labour-related work stoppages, or through a shift in demand away from entities associated with such incidents. Entities with strong supply chain standards, monitoring and engagement with suppliers to address labour concerns may better preserve shareholder value over the long term.
Raw Materials Sourcing
The Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry relies on many raw materials including cotton, leather, wool, rubber, and precious minerals and metals, as inputs for finished products. Sustainability impacts related to climate change, land use, resource scarcity and conflict in regions where the industry’s supply chain operates affect the industry’s ability to reliably source materials. The ability of entities to manage potential material shortages, supply disruptions, price volatility and reputational risks can be more difficult when supply chains lack transparency. Failure to effectively manage this issue can delay shipments and depress earnings, reduce margins, constrain revenue growth or increase costs of capital. The types of risk associated with sourcing different materials can require different solutions, including engaging with suppliers, enhancing transparency by using certification standards, using innovative alternative materials, or introducing circular economy practices. Entities that are proactive may reduce their exposure to price volatility and potential supply disruptions, while improving their brand reputation and developing new market opportunities.