Aussies Launch New Sustainability Index

Aussies Launch New Sustainability Index

Sustainable Asset Management, the research partner for the six year old Dow Jones Sustainability Index, has announced the launch of the Australian SAM Sustainability Index (AuSSI).

The index will track the financial performance of about 70 Australian companies that lead their industry in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria.

"At VicSuper, we have for many years seen sustainability as essential for long-term shareholder value." added Bob Welsh, CEO of VicSuper -- one of Australia's largest superannuation funds with close to 190,000 members. "Short-termism is a significant risk to the competitiveness of Australia's corporate sector. The AuSSI offers investors and other stakeholders an important platform to take a long-term view."

The AuSSI is Australia's first index to measure the financial performance of the country's sustainability leaders. It comprises the top 40 percent in terms of sustainability out of 184 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

SAM will apply the same research criteria as the globally recognized Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for which SAM selects sustainability leaders on a worldwide scale.

Examples of the criteria include corporate governance, eco-efficiency, human resources management, and stakeholder relations. The integration of sustainability aspects into a bank's project financing activities, water use among food companies, and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil as well as the automotive sector are further examples.

Based on this analysis, SAM ranks companies within their industry according to sustainability scores. The AuSSI comprises the Australian leaders from each sector and tracks the development of their share price on a daily basis. As a result, it defines a universe of best-in-class companies and provides investors with an objective benchmark for the growing amount of sustainability-driven Australian portfolios.

Index values will be calculated by Dow Jones Indexes and published in The Australian on a daily basis starting today. A full review of index members will be performed on an annual basis. In addition, daily monitoring of the AuSSI members by SAM will allow prompt reaction to important new developments.

"SAM has been in the index business since 1999. The successful launch of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes and its current use by asset managers in 14 countries have confirmed our conviction that objective and transparent benchmarks play an important role for sustainability investors. Based on this strong platform, SAM is now expanding its existing range of global and regional benchmarks to include country-specific sustainability indexes as well." said Alexander Barkawi, Managing Director of SAM Indexes.