The Index is informed by and complements other global initiatives and reporting frameworks relevant to tobacco control, sustainability, and corporate accountability.
Although the Index is unique for the depth and breadth of its focus on tobacco harm reduction, its ultimate goal – to reduce the disease and premature death associated with tobacco use – is well aligned with the priorities of other important initiatives, including those not exclusively focused on the problem of tobacco use. Additionally, the Index seeks to align as much as possible with key issues, principles, concepts, and/or measurements of other initiatives that relate to how tobacco companies manage or report on their harm reduction activities.
The following lists the most important initiatives referenced and briefly discusses how the Index relates to each.
WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is an international treaty developed to address the global tobacco epidemic and to help governments improve public health outcomes. Its provisions guide member states in setting policies to reduce both demand and supply of tobacco, through price and tax measures, as well as regulation of the contents, packaging, labeling, advertising, and promotion of tobacco products.
Several aspects of the Index relate to key articles of the FCTC, including overall objectives (Article 3), product pricing (Article 6), and marketing (Articles 11 and 13).
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board develops and maintains standards identifying a minimum set of financially material sustainability topics and their associated metrics for 77 industries, including tobacco. The topics and metrics are designed to guide companies’ disclosures in order to provide information to support decision-making by companies and their investors.
The SASB Tobacco Standard (October 2018 edition) encourages disclosures related to public health and marketing practices, with metrics focused on revenues from non-tobacco nicotine and/or heated tobacco products; volume sales of combustible and noncombustible tobacco/nicotine products; and description of companies’ marketing policies. The Index advances on these indicators to assess companies’ progress in phasing out high-risk products and responsibly offering reduced-risk alternatives.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals comprise 17 goals and 169 targets designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. The goals of the Index align most directly with Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Key aspects of the Index program also align with Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries; and Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Billed as the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the United Nations Global Compact is a framework for businesses to align strategies and operations based on universal principles of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Although UNGC does not directly address public health, the Index is aligned with its call to companies to take actions that advance societal goals. A portion of the Index also looks closely at companies’ actions to help transition the livelihoods of tobacco farmers, which relates closely to UNGC’s labor and human rights principles.
SAM’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment is an annual survey used to calculate the Total Sustainability Score for constituents of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. The CSA relies on questionnaires that cover material issues and criteria for 61 industries, including tobacco. Components of the CSA that are most closely aligned with the Index include those around Innovation Management for Tobacco Alternatives & Reduced Risk Products, Marketing Practices, and Policy Influence.
The Global Reporting Initiative provides standards for companies to understand and communicate their impact on critical economic, social, and environmental issues. It is a key reference point for sustainability reporting by global companies. Of particular relevance to the Index are GRI’s standards for General Disclosures, Economic Performance, Public Policy, Customer Health and Safety, Marketing and Labeling, and Socioeconomic Compliance.