September 27, 2019


The DJSI – Pioneers in ESG/Sustainable Investing Indexes, Celebrates 20 Years of Industry Leadership and Partnership of RobecoSAM and S&P Global Dow Jones

ESG equity indexes are certainly all the buzz these days as many more institutional and retail investors are embracing sustainable investing and directing their investment dollars toward existing and new index families that qualify (or purport to qualify) as a suitable ESG/sustainable investment.

Of note, Morgan Stanley Institute reports that its surveys reveal that are there very strong signals in asset management circles for growth and opportunity as sustainable investing has definitely gone mainstream.  Three-quarters of asset managers report they are adopting sustainable investing (up from a modest 10 percent in 2016).  Those surveyed by MSI said they believe they can maximize financial returns while investing sustainably (62% said so); and 89% of respondents say their firm is devoting additional resources to the approach over the next year or two.

It was not always this way; the pioneers (asset owners and their managers) focused on the early forms of sustainable investing back 40, 30, 20 years did not have a wide range of indexes/indices to choose from as they embraced a new approach in equity analysis and portfolio management.  They believed that sustainable investing methods could help them do well by doing good, as the early adopters proclaimed.

In 1999, early days in sustainable investing as we know it today, S&P Dow Jones and SAM (one of the first asset managers focused on sustainability) developed the pioneering approaches to sustainable indexing with a family of funds that have over the two decades worked to shape global sustainable investing practices. Today, SAM is known as RobecoSAM, based in Switzerland.

Over time, inclusion in “the DJSI” became a distinct badge of honor and pride for a public company board and management. (Here at G&A Institute we hear that from a wide range of company managers in various sectors and industry categories. “The CEO wants to be in…”  Part of our service offerings is helping corporate managers understand and respond effectively to the annual CSA.)

Today with literally tens of thousands of sustainable indexes and benchmarks available to investors and more coming every day (it seems to us in our monitoring) the DJSI choices remain king-of-the-hill for sustainable investment professionals. RobecoSAM and S&P Dow Jones Indexes continue to set the pace for this ever-more important class of benchmarks.

That first year, public companies were invited to provide ESG information to the partners – 280 did and 228 were included in the first versions of the DJSI. Today, 1,200 companies actively participate in the annual “CSA” (the Corporate Sustainability Assessment) exercise, providing critical ESG data and information to RobecoSAM analysts.

The invitations go out to companies in the spring and the new formulations for the family of DJSI indexes are announced in the fall.  The period between the September announcement and the preparation for the next spring’s CSA response is critical for examining the results of (say, the 2019 response and results) and the 2020 CSA response by the company.  It takes a full six months of preparation to increase scores by providing updated data and information – which the competing peers are doing as well!

The more you know about the DSJI and related process, the better as you prepare for the 2020 CSA response when/if your company is invited by RobecoSAM.

There’s a complete history of the DJSI and a wealth of useful current information in this week’s Top Story for you.


G&A Institute and DFIN Solutions have partnered to host an invitation only event featuring RobecoSAM to help corporate managers whose companies are responding – or plan to respond – to the annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).  Our next program is scheduled for October 15, 2019 at Baruch College’s Vertical Campus in New York City. 

This by-invitation program is specifically designed for qualified corporate managers (such as IROs, sustainability managers and others with responsibility to respond to the CSA) to help them understand the process and to hear first-hand from experts involved in the CSA process and investors utilizing the data for scores and index creation (DJSI, S&P ESG Indexes for example). 

To request an invitation to participate submit your info here:

The one-day event will feature speakers from RobecoSAM, S&P Dow Jones Indices, State Street, Abbott and Owens Corning, and valuable peer-to-peer conversations for corporate sustainability and IR managers.  The event is sponsored by G&A Institute and Donnelly Financial Solutions, Inc., (DFIN) a leader in risk and compliance solutions, providing insightful technology, industry expertise and data insights to clients around the world.

Top Stories

Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Review Results 2019
Source: Yahoo Finance - The three largest (by free-float market capitalization) additions to and deletions from the DJSI World this year are:

And also of interest…

State Street to Battle BlackRock, DWS With New Sustainable Funds
Source: Yahoo Finance - State Street Corp. is almost doubling its line-up of socially-responsible exchange-traded funds as it looks to compete with the likes of BlackRock Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG’s DWS Group in the burgeoning market for values-oriented...

3 Myths About Sustainable Funds
Source: MorningStar - In a 2017 Nuveen survey of investors, four out of five said they want their investments to make a positive impact on society and on environmental sustainability. And in an Allianz Life survey released in April, two thirds of...

Fidelity International launches 'Sustainable Family of Funds' ESG range
Source: International Investments - Fidelity International today announced the launch of its Sustainable Family of Funds (the Sustainable Family), a new cross-asset class fund range with a focused environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework.

Sustainability Standards Setters & Policy Makers

GRI's Occupational Health & Safety Standard - Source: GRI

Cities to step up at U.N. to push climate fight, sustainable development - Source: Reuters 

Corporate Reporting Dialogue shows high level of alignment between major global reporting frameworks on TCFD recommendations - Source: IIRC

Major standards setters release TCFD Good Practice Handbook - Source: CDSB

Virginia Governor’s Executive Order to Accelerate Clean Energy Future is the Right Move for the Commonwealth - Source: Ceres

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Generation M – the “Millennials” – Making a Difference in Many Spheres of Society

60% of the Russell 1000 Published Sustainability Reports in 2018 — Trends Among Large-Cap, Publicly-Traded U.S. Companies Included in the Russell 1000® Index — G&A Institute Shares Research Results

GRESB at the Decade Mark – the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark Serving Investors, Real Estate Asset Owners and Managers, Developers…



FLASH REPORT: 60% of Russell 1000® Are Publishing Sustainability Reports, G&A Institute’s 2018 Inaugural Benchmark Study Shows

FLASH REPORT: 86% of S&P 500 Index® Companies Publish Sustainability / Responsibility Reports in 2018

Sector Study on Sustainability Materiality of the SDG Targets & GRI Indicators

Learn More About G&A Research

Featured G&A Institute Service
Investor Perception Surveys
Surveying of analysts and asset managers to determine the level and interest of sustainable investing and corporate ESG performance integration…
More on Investor Perception Surveys



ESG / Sustainable & Responsible Investment

As It Matures, ESG Permeates the Entire Investment Universe - Source: Institutional Investor 

Sustainable Finance Industry Guide - Source: GRESB 

Fact Check: Socially Responsible Investing Is Noble, But Is It Profitable?- Source: 

Are Vegan ETFs the Future of Sustainable Investing? -Source: Worth 

There’s a ‘great correlation’ between a good company culture and profits, ESG investors say - Source: CNBC 

Bloomberg Sustainable Business Special Report - Source: Bloomberg

Major Private Sector Institutions Present Solutions for Mobilizing Climate Finance - Source: Bloomberg

Record 515 institutional investors managing $35 trillion in assets urge governments to step up ambition to tackle climate change - Source: Ceres

Major investors and companies urge Massachusetts to commit to a net-zero carbon economy - Source: Ceres

230 Investors with USD $16.2 trillion in AUM Call for Corporate Action on Deforestation, Signaling Support for the Amazon - Source: Ceres

Corporate Sustainability / ESG

The Power of Aligning Employee Engagement with a Critical Community Need - Source: CECP

Responsible Use of Technology - Source: BSR Blog

ESG: Why purpose drives returns - not the opposite - Source: Investment Europe 

Harvard joins Climate Action 100+ - Source: Harvard Gazette 

The World’s Most Reputable Companies for Corporate Responsibility 2019 - Source: Forbes 

There's A Small, Elite Group of Companies That Basically Controls the Global Environment, Study Finds - Source: NewsWeek

ESG Reporting is Critical – How to Get Started - Source: Corporate Compliance Insights, John Truzzolino

Global Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!

Penn State Smeal to open Center for the Business of Sustainability in 2020- Source: Penn State News 

How We Can Make Ports More Sustainable — And Why it Matters- Source: State of the Planet, Columbia University 

Pushing Sustainability Through the Supply Chain — Our Experience- Source: Clean Technica

United Nations and Sanrio Launch Strategic Collaboration to Promote the Sustainable Development Goals - Source: UN SDGs

Consumers & Sustainability

Curated Marketplaces Are Helping Consumers Discover Sustainable Brands- Source: Ad Week 

More than half of adults report noticing operators using more sustainable practices - Source: Catering Insight 

Adweek Is Spotlighting How Sustainability and Climate Change Intersect with Marketing- Source: AdWeek 

When to lead with sustainability in consumer communications, and when not toSource: GreenBiz 

Green Product Placement Is Making Sustainability Cool & Normal- Source: Clean Technica 

Sustainability Data That Matters

New Report from the U.S. Green Building Council Shows that Climate Action Requires Putting People First - Source: USGBC

Business contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development not on track, United Nations Global Compact and Accenture study finds - Source: UNGC

GPR launches ESG-focused regional index series based on GRESB data- Source: GRESB 

Using Local Generation to Improve Data Center Resilience and Sustainability- Source: Micro Grid Knowledge 


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