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Sarbanes/Oxley Act
A US law against corporate fraud.

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SA8000

An international certification standard on the enforcement of human rights and workers’ rights, safeguards against the exploitation of minors and guarantees of safe and healthy conditions in the workplace. These regulations were developed by CEPAA (Council of Economical Priorities Accreditation Agency, www.cepaa.org), an emanation of CEP.


Shareholders
A category of stakeholders who own shares in a company.


Social report
This is a tool for reporting a company’s non-financial performance; it is an instrument of dialogue between the various stakeholders that contributes to creating a corporate identity and to bolstering its reputation. Its requisites include: neutrality, coherence, inclusion and connection to the company’s financial results. It must also contain goals for the future and achieved (prospective and final) results. Several models exist, of which the most widespread in Italy is the GBS (Gruppo di Studio per il Bilancio Sociale [Social Balance Study Group]). The main sections of the GBS are: 1. Corporate identity, which implies stating the organizational structure, mission, basic ethical values and strategic vision of the company. 2. The production and distribution of added value, which is the main connection to the financial results that the company’s business activities have produced and makes the economic effects evident (or economically expressible) to the main categories of stakeholders. 3. The social report, which summarizes the results achieved in relation to the commitments, programs and effects on individual groups of stakeholders.


Social capital
The set of social relations available to an individual party (e.g. a businessman or a worker) or to a collective party (private or public) in any given moment. Cognitive resources, such as information, or normative ones, such as trust, are made available through the capital of relations, enabling the parties involved to achieve goals that would otherwise be unattainable, or would be attainable at much greater costs (C. Trigilia 1999).


Social commitment
A company’s investment in initiatives with a social theme.


Social performance
It includes assessments on business ethics and on the management’s coherence with the company’s stated fundamental values.


Social regulations
The group of regulatory policies (e.g. the Maastricht treaty) implemented by the social body on various local levels – especially through conciliation – to favor processes for rebalancing or reducing imbalances that exist between local areas and/or social groups, that market economy trends alone cannot ensure.
Environmental issues, and a fortiori those concerning the sustainability of development, require a scale different levels of social regulation measures to be established, according to three interrelated guiding principles in which goals of economic competitiveness meet with goals of social utility: conciliation, la social demand and public intervention.


SRI (Socially Responsible Investing)

Investments that take into account not only economic performance but also social, environmental and ethical criteria...

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Stakeholders
Bearers of legitimate interests that the company depends on for its results and which it influences with its activities.


Stakeholder Engagement (or Stakeholder Involvement)

A policy of involving stakeholders that is useful for fulfilling their expectations.


Stationary state economy
"If by growth we mean a quantitative change and by development we mean a qualitative change, then we can say that the stationary state economy develops instead of growing, just like the Earth, of which the human economy is a subsystem." (H. Daly)
    

Stock option
Contracts that provide the option to purchase company stocks, issued through dedicated capital increases, within a prearranged timeframe and at a prearranged price. Stock options are used as a form of supplemental, incentivizing and loyalty-promoting remuneration for individual employees, for specific categories or for all employees.


Sustainability
In finance and industry, it consists in the creation of added value through anticipation and risk management and opportunities related to long-term economic, social and environmental developments.


Sustainability report

A management tool that combines economic, social and environmental approaches in order to reduce inconveniences for future generations. The sustainability report is inspired by the Triple Bottom Line approach, and therefore accounts for economic sustainability (the capacity of generating revenues, profits and occupation), social sustainability (the capacity of guaranteeing conditions of well-being and growth that are distributed equally and the capacity of enforcing human rights and workers’ rights) and environmental sustainability (the capacity of safeguarding natural resources and the ecosystem’s ability of absorbing and tolerating impacts). The reference standard is given by the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Guidelines, which are subdivided into the following sections: 1. vision and strategy; 2. organizational and reporting profile; 3. governing structure and management system; 4. table of contents (index); 5. performance indicators: measures of the organization’s impact or effects, subdivided into economic (customers, suppliers, human resources.... ), environmental (raw materials, energy, water... ) and social (labor practices, human rights, society, product responsibility... ) indicators in the form of "categories - aspects - indicators".


Sustainability Indexes

Sustainability indexes are stock indexes in which stocks are selected not only on the basis of economic and financial parameters but also according to social and environmental criteria. The selection process is performed by specialized ratings agencies that assess companies on the basis of publicly available information or on the basis of questionnaires, taking opinions expressed by the media and stakeholders into account. The selection process is very rigorous, and only those companies deemed worthy are included in sustainability indexes, of which some examples include the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and the Financial Times Stock Exchange4Good (FTSE4Good).


Sustainable development
The current generation’s capacity to implement a type of development that, while meeting the demands of the present, does not jeopardize the capacity of future generations to meet their own demands.
"Our Common Future" World Commission on Environment and Development report, 1987, chaired by Mrs Gro Harlem Brundtland"


Sustainable Ratings Agencies

Sustainable Ratings Agencies assess companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility in order to decide whether to include them in Sustainability Indexes. The main SRAs are Sustainable Asset Management (SAM), which assesses the eligibility for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), and the Ethical Investment  Research Service (EIRIS), which decides on inclusion in the Financial Times Stock ExchangeForGood (FTSE4Good).