Sustainability Yearbook:
Methodology Overview

In 2018, 2,686 companies were assessed in the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA)*. Since 1999, SAM has been conducting the annual CSA and has compiled one of the largest and most comprehensive global databases on corporate sustainability.

*as of November 30th 2018

Methodology updates for 2019

The 2019 Yearbook is based on the 2018 Corporate Sustainability Assessment. In 2018, major changes were made to the CSA’s underlying scoring methodology, which impacted all companies’ scores. More specifically, a change in the scoring impact of the Media and Stakeholder Analysis led to a recalibration of the scores, with many companies scoring lower compared to 2017. As a result of this change, the number of medals and Yearbook members has decreased in 2018.

Within each industry, companies with a minimum total score of 60 and whose score is within 1% of the top performing company’s score in their industry receive the SAM Gold Class award.

All companies receiving a total score of at least 57 and whose score is within a range of 1% to 5% of the industry’s top performing company’s score receive the SAM Silver Class distinction.

Companies whose score is at least 54 and is within a range of 5% to 10% of the industry’s top performing company’s score receive the SAM Bronze Class distinction.

Within the top 15% of each industry, the company that has achieved the largest proportional improvement in its sustainability performance compared to the previous year is named the SAM Industry Mover. In order to ensure comparability, the selection of industry movers reflects the change in score between 2018 and the 2017 scores, which were recalculated with the new scoring methodology used in 2018.

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Sustainability Yearbook Member

All companies that have been included in the Yearbook, but that have not received a medal distinction, are listed as a Sustainability Yearbook Member. In order to be listed in the Yearbook, companies must be within the top 15% of their industry and must achieve a score within 30% of their industry’s top performing company.

Find out who made it to the top

Read more about the Yearbook's methodology

SAM is pleased to see that over the years, participation rates in the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment have continuously risen – with a record number of companies taking part in this year’s assessment – indicating that sustainability is increasingly rising to the top of corporate agendas and becoming more mainstream.

On the following pages, SAM offers insights highlighting opportunities and risks deriving from economic, environmental and social trends and developments that have an impact on the competitive position of companies in each of the 60 industries analyzed. Companies ranking in the top 15% of each industry included in The Sustainability Yearbook, and those within the top 10% are classified into three categories: SAM Gold Class, SAM Silver Class and SAM Bronze Class. As the Sustainability Yearbook aims to distinguish those companies that have each demonstrated their strengths in the area of corporate sustainability, we see greater value in rewarding groups of top performing companies, rather than individual companies. Furthermore, in order to be included in the Yearbook, companies must achieve a score within 30% of their industry’s top performing company.

In addition to the companies’ sustainability scores derived from the CSA, a qualitative screen based on SAM’s Media and Stakeholder Analysis (MSA) is applied to determine eligibility for inclusion in The Sustainability Yearbook. The MSA is based on an examination of media coverage and publicly available stakeholder information provided by RepRisk ESG Business Intelligence and evaluates a company’s response to critical sustainability issues that may arise during the year. This process aligns the Yearbook’s methodology with any decision by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Committee to exclude a company from the DJSI, which is also based on the MSA.

Media and Stakeholder Analysis

All scores used for the Yearbook selection reflect the results of SAM’s Media & Stakeholder Analysis as of December 3rd, 2018 as well as the most recent decisions regarding company exclusions from the DJSI that have been taken by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Committee.

Corporate Actions

SAM monitors corporate actions throughout the year. In line with the treatment of corporate actions for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, SAM will review corporate actions on a case-by-case basis and apply a consistent methodology. For merged companies, the surviving entity will be considered for the Yearbook based on the score of the company assessed which SAM deems to be the surviving entity. If a company is delisted as a result of a corporate action prior to the end of October, it will no longer be eligible for inclusion in the Sustainability Yearbook, given that the entity no longer exists.

Company names and countries are reviewed periodically and updated to the best of SAM’s knowledge at the time of publication. Changes occurring after this date may not be reflected in the printed version of the Yearbook, but may be updated on the SAM Sustainability Yearbook website.

Reading Instructions

The information below provides an explanation on how to interpret the various sections contained in each of the Industry Profiles.


Driving forces
Highlights current and future challenges shaping the competitive landscape of each industry and impacting the sources of value creation for companies.

Highlighted criteria
Highlights selected industry-specific and general criteria that are applied in the 2018 Corporate Sustainability Assessment, including the weights of the three dimensions within the overall score.

Industry statistics
This section displays the research coverage in 2018 for the respective industry. Assessed companies include those that actively participated in the CSA and companies assessed by SAM based on publicly available information.

Results at industry level
The box-and-whisker charts show the distribution of scores of all assessed companies within the industry by showing:

  • Highest score
  • Upper quartile
  • Median score
  • Lower quartile
  • Lowest score

The length of the box represents the scores spread between the second and third quartile (50% of companies).

2018 Annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment

companies assessed.
documents uploaded.
data points collected.