A bit of Dow Jones Sustainability Index over breakfast

by Cameron Neil

On May 8th, in the midst of the annual submission season for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), the Sydney office hosted a two-part interactive breakfast session. The first part was a balanced panel discussion provided an analyst (Dr. Ian Wood, AMP Capital), super-sector leader (Ms. Siobhan Toohill, GM Sustainability at Stockland) and DJSI perspective (Mr. Simon Romjin, SAM Australia/Transcap Pty Ltd) on the:

  • Value of DJSI?
  • Role of DJSI in your organisation’s sustainability agenda?
  • Key benefits and challenges of participating in the DJSI?

Key quotes from the session can be found on the Net Balance twitter feed. Insights from the session included:

  1. The power of a robust index is to use it as a driver of change and active focus on improving performance
  2. The DJSI can be a useful tool to start conversations within your business about managing risk and building capacity to improve sustainability performance
  3. Some equity analysts feel there’s value to also use existing channels such as investor presentations to discuss your sustainability strategies and performance
  4. Sustainability leaders tend to outperform their peers over time, and this is more evident in down cycles or periods of economic stress. There is also evidence of a significant investor return differential between the top 20 versus the bottom 20 sustainability performers.

The second part of the session was a practical ‘how-to’ that focussed on tips and insights to improve the DJSI submission, facilitated by Alan Dayeh, Net Balance’s Strategy, Governance and Reporting Lead and Francis Grey, Director Research, Transcap Pty Ltd (formerly SAM Group).

 Cameron Neil is a Senior Associate of Net Balance (cameron@netbalance.com), 
one of the world’s leading sustainability advisory firms.
Cameron is based in Melbourne.