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About the CSA

The SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment

The Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) empowers you to leverage the unique expertise and the proprietary methodology and database underlying the world’s most renowned sustainability indices.

The SAM CSA, established by RobecoSAM, is now issued by S&P Global. RobecoSAM, an asset manager focused entirely on sustainable investing, established the CSA in 1999. The CSA has become the basis for numerous S&P ESG Indices over the last two decades attracting billions of USD in assets. S&P Global’s acquisition of the CSA includes the transition of the related ESG ratings and ESG benchmarking teams that will operate out of S&P Global Switzerland, Zurich branch.

Key facts

  • Since 1999, the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) and the collaboration with Dow Jones Indices (now S&P Dow Jones Indices) has been the foremost global sustainability benchmark
  • Companies are selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), S&P 500 ESG and several other sustainability indices on the basis of their results in the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment
  • A growing number of companies participate in the assessment and use their results to benchmark their sustainability performance vis-a-vis peers.
  • The CSA applies a best-in-class approach, meaning no industries are excluded from the assessment, and the CSA compares companies across 61 industries via questionnaires assessing a mix of 80-100 cross-industry and industry-specific questions
  • On the basis of their performance, companies receive scores ranging from 0 to 100 and percentile rankings for approximately 20 financially relevant sustainability criteria across economic, environmental and social dimensions
  • All assessed companies' industry rankings are published on the Bloomberg Platform, the S&P Spice platform, and the SAM Sustainability Yearbook online database

A history of innovation

What started out as a paper-based questionnaire in 1999 has now grown into one of the world’s most extensive corporate sustainability databases. To ensure that our analysis remains focused on financially material criteria, we continuously refine our methodology to reflect new sustainability trends that are likely to have an impact on companies’ competitive landscape. 

Our CSA timeline highlights the key innovations to the questionnaire as well as some of the major technological developments, environmental challenges, and global events that have influenced our methodology over the years.

About ESG Ratings

The SAM ESG Research team is responsible for the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), from the methodology behind the assessment through the data collected each year to the evaluation and scoring of individual companies. The team’s ultimate responsibility is to collect and aggregate feedback from all core internal and external stakeholders and translate it into a uniform and up-to-date approach to assessing corporate sustainability performance. These updates ensure the continued relevance of issues already captured and to address emerging sustainability issues expected to have an impact on companies in years to come. The proprietary database managed by the team contains more than two decades of ESG data on the largest companies in the world.

About ESG Benchmarking

ESG Benchmarking is a separate business unit within S&P Global Switzerland SA, founded in 2006. Our services focus on leveraging SAM's sustainability know-how to drive sustainability business practices by offering companies, experts and practitioners a range of unique services to evaluate their sustainability performance in a credible way.