Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors

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Current language: English
The Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors industry encompasses a variety of retailing categories such as department stores, mass merchants, home products stores and warehouse clubs, as well as a smaller segment of distributors like electronics wholesalers and automotive wholesalers. These entities (except for the distribution segment) commonly manage global supply chains to anticipate consumer demands, keep costs low and keep products stocked in their brick-and-mortar storefronts. This is a highly competitive industry in which each category generally has a small number of important players characterised by generally low margins. The relatively substitutable nature of retail makes entities in this industry especially susceptible to reputational risks.

Relevant Issues (5 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.
  • Environment
    • GHG Emissions
    • Air Quality
    • Energy Management The category addresses environmental impacts associated with energy consumption. It addresses the company’s management of energy in manufacturing and/or for provision of products and services derived from utility providers (grid energy) not owned or controlled by the company. More specifically, it includes management of energy efficiency and intensity, energy mix, as well as grid reliance. Upstream (e.g., suppliers) and downstream (e.g., product use) energy use is not included in the scope.
    • Water & Wastewater Management
    • Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
    • Ecological Impacts
  • Social Capital
    • Human Rights & Community Relations
    • Customer Privacy
    • Data Security The category addresses management of risks related to collection, retention, and use of sensitive, confidential, and/or proprietary customer or user data. It includes social issues that may arise from incidents such as data breaches in which personally identifiable information (PII) and other user or customer data may be exposed. It addresses a company’s strategy, policies, and practices related to IT infrastructure, staff training, record keeping, cooperation with law enforcement, and other mechanisms used to ensure security of customer or user data.
    • Access & Affordability
    • Product Quality & Safety
    • Customer Welfare
    • Selling Practices & Product Labeling
  • Human Capital
    • Labor Practices The category addresses the company’s ability to uphold commonly accepted labor standards in the workplace, including compliance with labor laws and internationally accepted norms and standards. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring basic human rights related to child labor, forced or bonded labor, exploitative labor, fair wages and overtime pay, and other basic workers' rights. It also includes minimum wage policies and provision of benefits, which may influence how a workforce is attracted, retained, and motivated. The category further addresses a company’s relationship with organized labor and freedom of association.
    • Employee Health & Safety
    • Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion The category addresses a company’s ability to ensure that its culture and hiring and promotion practices embrace the building of a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the makeup of local talent pools and its customer base. It addresses the issues of discriminatory practices on the bases of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and other factors.
  • Business Model and Innovation
    • Product Design & Lifecycle Management The category addresses incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations in characteristics of products and services provided or sold by the company. It includes, but is not limited to, managing the lifecycle impacts of products and services, such as those related to packaging, distribution, use-phase resource intensity, and other environmental and social externalities that may occur during their use-phase or at the end of life. The category captures a company’s ability to address customer and societal demand for more sustainable products and services as well as to meet evolving environmental and social regulation. It does not address direct environmental or social impacts of the company’s operations nor does it address health and safety risks to consumers from product use, which are covered in other categories.
    • Business Model Resilience
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
    • Physical Impacts of Climate Change
  • Leadership and Governance
    • Business Ethics
    • Competitive Behavior
    • Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
    • Critical Incident Risk Management
    • Systemic Risk Management

Disclosure Topics

What is the relationship between General Issue Category and Disclosure Topics? The General Issue Category is an industry-agnostic version of the Disclosure Topics that appear in each SASB Standard. Disclosure topics represent the industry-specific impacts of General Issue Categories. The industry-specific Disclosure Topics ensure each SASB Standard is tailored to the industry, while the General Issue Categories enable comparability across industries. For example, Health & Nutrition is a disclosure topic in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry, representing an industry-specific measure of the general issue of Customer Welfare. The issue of Customer Welfare, however, manifests as the Counterfeit Drugs disclosure topic in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry.
General Issue Category
(Industry agnostic)

Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors

Energy Management
  • Energy Management in Retail & Distribution

    Entities in this industry require significant amounts of energy for retail facilities and warehouses. An increasing number of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulations and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy may result in price increases for conventional electricity sources while making alternative sources more cost-competitive. Fossil fuel-based energy production and consumption contribute to significant environmental impacts, including climate change and pollution. Energy sourcing decisions can create trade-offs related to energy supply costs and operational reliability. Overall energy efficiency and access to alternative energy sources are becoming increasingly important for entities to manage. Efficiency in this area can have financial implications through direct cost savings, which are particularly beneficial in this low-margin industry.
Data Security
  • Data Security

    Consumers trust retail entities with their financial and personal data every time they make a noncash transaction. Credit cards and debit cards have steadily eclipsed cash and cheques as consumers’ preferred payment methods. In these noncash transactions, retailers build up a relationship of trust with consumers, assuring them of the safety of their personal information. Data breaches can occur both through breaches of the physical payment technology, called point-of-sales breaches, as well as through cyber attacks. As consumers become more educated about the threats of cybercrime, particularly in the wake of continued high-profile attacks, having a reputation as a secure entity is increasingly important to maintain or gain market share. Retailers that prevent major data breaches can also avoid harming brand value and reduce liabilities.
Labor Practices
  • Labour Practices

    Retail’s significance to the U.S. economy as a major employer means that it is also often at the centre of public labour-practice discussions. This can have serious reputational implications for entities in the industry whose performance on labour relations is poor. The low-average wages in the industry, which help entities maintain low prices on products, may increase these labour-related risks. Since customers regularly interact directly with employees, entities can face a decrease in market share and revenue from negative consumer sentiment due to public disagreement between entities and their workers. Entities can enhance labour productivity and employee engagement by taking a long-term approach to managing workers in areas such as compensation and workers’ rights. In addition to mitigating risks, improvements in labour productivity can help strengthen an entity’s reputation and reduce its cost of capital.
Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Workforce Diversity & Inclusion

    The Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors industry is consumer-facing and relies on the ability to communicate effectively with customers during the sales process and adapt to changing consumer demands for products. As the populations of many developed markets undergo a massive demographic shift, including increases in minority populations, entities in this industry can benefit from ensuring that their entity culture and hiring and promotion practices embrace the building of a diverse workforce at management- and junior-level positions. Retailers that respond to this demographic shift and employ staff who will be able to recognise the needs of diverse populations may be better able to capture demand from segments that have traditionally been overlooked, which can provide entities a competitive advantage. Furthermore, such entities may benefit from decreased legal and regulatory risks, as well as improved reputational value.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
  • Product Sourcing, Packaging & Marketing

    Entities in the Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors industry sell a wide array of products including electronics, clothing, furnishings, and cosmetics, which all have varying environmental and social impacts throughout their lifecycles. The size and subsequent buying power of many entities in this industry allow them to work with their suppliers to source products and packaging with lower lifecycle environmental and social impacts. Entities that perform well in this regard may benefit from increased customer demand and improved margins. Taking a proactive approach to engaging suppliers, using certification standards, and reducing the environmental impacts of packaging are strategies commonly employed by entities in the industry.

Select up to 4 industries

Current Industry: Multiline and Specialty Retailers & Distributors

Consumer Goods
Extractives & Minerals Processing
Food & Beverage
Health Care
Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy
Resource Transformation
Technology & Communications

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