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The Tobacco Transformation Index is a tool to accelerate the transformation of the global tobacco industry and the reduction of harm caused by tobacco use. The Index is a complementary action sponsored by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. Specifically, the Index monitors tobacco companies’ activities with respect to transforming the industry through:
The Index draws upon ideas developed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and other environmental, social, and governance (ESG) methodologies that have been applied to a diverse range of sectors.
SASB has developed a set of 77 industry-specific sustainability accounting standards, one of which was designed for the tobacco industry. SASB defines the tobacco industry as comprised of companies that manufacture tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. SASB standards are designed to identify a minimum set of sustainability issues most likely to impact the operating performance or financial condition of the typical company in an industry. Michael Bloomberg supports SASB in the role of Chair Emeritus. In his annual letter to CEOs, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink states, “While no framework is perfect, BlackRock believes that the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) provides a clear set of standards for reporting sustainability information across a wide range of issues”.
With an exclusive focus on the transformation of the tobacco industry, the Tobacco Transformation Index goes further than the SASB tobacco standard. Specifically, the Index incorporates a broader and deeper set of metrics, drills into key performance areas, and offers the ability to objectively differentiate tobacco companies in a manner that will incentivize progressively more rapid change over time. The Index takes the added step of scoring target companies, regardless of their level of participation.
The SASB tobacco standard is built around several indicators covering:
The Tobacco Transformation Index’s preliminary design is built around 7 technical categories and 12 subcategories, which include more than 40 indicators.
Of course, a complete assessment of any company cannot be captured by a single score, and this is not the intent of the Index. The Tobacco Transformation Index will also include discussion of company performance — quantitative and qualitative — based on verified data and other observable evidence. The Index strives for objective balance, given there is no single infallible indicator. The aim is a set of indicators that together give the most objectively balanced view possible.
In summary, the Foundation views the Tobacco Transformation Index as supporting and building upon the SASB and other standards. The Index and the SASB tobacco standard share common metrics — sales volume, revenue, and marketing practices. The Index goes further in scope, assessment of relative measures, rates of change over time, and leading indicators; therefore, achieving greater insight and enabling stakeholders to more effectively evaluate the behavior of and differentiate between the tobacco companies.
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