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Corporate Sustainability Assessment

Corporate Sustainability Assessment

Starting Universe

Each year, over 3,400 publicly traded companies are invited to participate in RobecoSAM’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment. Of these, the largest 2,500 global companies by market capitalization are eligible for inclusion in the flagship DJSI World.
A list of the invited companies that form the starting universe of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index family, as well as a timeline for the Annual Corporate Assessment can be found here.


The RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) consists of an in-depth analysis featuring approximately 80-120 questions on financially relevant economic, environmental and social factors that are relevant to the companies’ financial success, but that are under-researched in conventional financial analysis. The questionnaires are specific to each of the 60 DJSI industries following the  GICS classification. Based on major global sustainability challenges identified by RobecoSAM's analysts, general criteria relating to standard management practices and performance measures such as Corporate Governance, Human Capital Development and Risk & Crisis Management are defined and applied to each of the 60 industries. The general criteria account for approximately 40 - 50% of the assessment, depending on the industry.

At least 50% of the questionnaire covers industry-specific risks and opportunities that focus on economic, environmental and social challenges and trends that are particularly relevant to companies within that industry. This focus on industry-specific criteria reflects RobecoSAM's conviction that industry-specific sustainability opportunities and risks play a key role in a company's long-term success and allows RobecoSAM to compare companies against their own peers in order to identify sustainability leaders.
For more detailed information on the structure and methodology behind the Corporate Sustainability Assessment, please refer to our publication "RobecoSAM's Corporate Sustainability Assessment Companion" or "Measuring Intangibles"

Media and Stakeholder Analysis

An integral component of the Corporate Sustainability Assessment is the Media & Stakeholder Analysis (MSA). The MSA process continuously monitors media coverage and other publicly available information from consumer organizations, governments or NGOs based on data provided by service provider RepRisk ESG Business Intelligence to identify companies' involvement and response to environmental, economic and social crisis situations that may have a damaging effect on their reputation and core business. On a daily basis, RepRisk screens, captures, filters and analyzes environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks related to companies in 14 languages from a wide range of external stakeholders and third parties. This information helps assess whether a company’s policies, processes, management systems and commitments are translating into performance as well as whether the company is exposed to material sustainability risks.

A range of issues such as labor disputes, accidents, human rights abuses or environmental disasters can harm a company’s reputation, resulting in financial consequences ranging from lost business, lost customers and declining sales, to liabilities, litigation or fines, all of which may have an impact on shareholder value. The MSA process analyzes the companies’ responses to such environmental, economic or social crisis situations that may have a negative impact on their core business or reputation.

The results of the MSA are built into the Corporate Sustainability Assessment and can reduce a company's Total Sustainability Score, thus affecting its inclusion in any of the DJSI Indices. In addition, severe incidents and breaches that cast strong doubts on a company’s procedures and ability to handle the situation can be escalated to the DJSI Index Committee. Following a thorough analysis, the DJSI Index Committee may decide to change a company’s eligibility immediately, regardless of the company’s Total Sustainability Score.


Information provided in the questionnaire is verified for accuracy by crosschecking companies' answers with the supporting documentation they have provided, checking publicly available information, and by verifying a company's track record on crisis management with media and stakeholder reports.

In addition, to ensure quality and objectivity of the CSA, independent third party Deloitte conducts an external audit of the assessment process each year. You can download the Assurance Statement from Deloitte here.

DJSI Index Committee

The DJSI Index Committee consists of two RobecoSAM representatives and two S&P Dow Jones Indices representatives and meets on a quarterly basis. Severe incidents and breaches that cast strong doubts on a company's procedures and ability to handle the situation can be escalated to the DJSI Index Committee.
The responsibilities of the DJSI Index Committee include the following:

  • Reviewing the index composition at the annual and quarterly reviews 
  • Deciding on the composition of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
  • Approving all changes to the index methodology 
  • Ongoing review of all extraordinary corporate actions for possible changes to the index composition 
  • Verifying the integrity of input price, currency rate and other related market data