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E-Commerce industry entities provide an online marketplace for other entities or individuals to sell their goods and services, as well as retailers and wholesalers that provide an exclusively web-based platform for consumers to buy goods and services. Entities in this industry sell to consumers as well as to other businesses. Because of the accessibility of e-commerce sites, the industry is a global marketplace for buyers and sellers.

Relevant Issues (5 of 26)

Why are some issues greyed out? The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.

Disclosure Topics

What is the relationship between General Issue Category and Disclosure Topics? The General Issue Category is an industry-agnostic version of the Disclosure Topics that appear in each SASB Standard. Disclosure topics represent the industry-specific impacts of General Issue Categories. The industry-specific Disclosure Topics ensure each SASB Standard is tailored to the industry, while the General Issue Categories enable comparability across industries. For example, Health & Nutrition is a disclosure topic in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry, representing an industry-specific measure of the general issue of Customer Welfare. The issue of Customer Welfare, however, manifests as the Counterfeit Drugs disclosure topic in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry.
General Issue Category
(Industry agnostic)

Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: E-Commerce

Energy Management
  • Hardware Infrastructure Energy & Water Management

    The E-Commerce industry uses a large part of the energy it consumes to power critical hardware and IT infrastructure in data centres. Data centres must be powered continuously, and disruptions to the energy supply can have a material impact on operations, depending on the disruption magnitude and timing. Entities also face a trade-off between energy and water consumption for their data centre cooling needs. Cooling data centres with water instead of chillers improves energy efficiency, but this method can result in dependence on potentially scarce local water resources. Entities that effectively manage this issue may benefit from cost savings and minimise reputational risks, because concerns over energy and water use are growing.
Customer Privacy
  • Data Privacy & Advertising Standards

    Entities in the E-Commerce industry have access to consumer information including financial information, purchase history and basic demographic data. Entities must carefully manage two separate and often conflicting priorities. Entities compete by leveraging data to provide users with relevant services and target advertising or product recommendations based on consumers’ preferences and behaviour patterns, but their access to a range of user data may raise privacy concerns among users and the public at large. These privacy concerns can result in increased regulatory scrutiny. Failure to manage the issue can result in incremental costs associated with managing regulatory and reputational risks. Furthermore, effective management in this area can increase user confidence and loyalty, which are particularly important to maintain market share.
Data Security
  • Data Security

    The business models of entities in the E-Commerce industry depend on an entity’s ability to securely process electronic payments. As consumers become more educated about the threats of cybercrime, their perceptions of an entity’s cybersecurity will become increasingly important to maintain or gain market share. The most trusted brands have an opportunity to position themselves favourably in the eyes of consumers and gain a significant competitive advantage. Conversely, entities that are perceived to be vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches may experience financial consequences in the form of fines, litigation and decreased market share.
Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Employee Recruitment, Inclusion & Performance

    Employees are essential contributors to value creation in the E-Commerce industry. In important markets, a shortage of technically skilled domestic workers has created intense competition to acquire such employees, contributing to high turnover rates. This competition for skilled workers and the search for innovative opportunities presents several interrelated sustainability challenges regarding human capital that entities must manage. Entities offer significant monetary and nonmonetary benefits to improve employee engagement, retention and productivity. Initiatives to improve employee engagement and work-life balance might positively influence the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce. Efforts to recruit from and develop globally diverse talent pools can serve to address skilled worker shortages and improve the value of entity offerings more generally. Greater workforce diversity is important for innovation, and it helps entities understand the needs of their diverse and global customer base.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
  • Product Packaging & Distribution

    A significant part of the E-Commerce industry’s added value comes from an entity’s ability to move a wide array of goods efficiently to consumers who would otherwise have to personally travel to collect the goods from brick-and-mortar stores. As the volume of packaging shipments increases, the industry may become more exposed to environmental externalities, such as carbon pricing and rising fuel costs that present risks associated with the shipping of products. While entities that outsource shipping and logistics have less control over the specific processes of shipping operations, they still can select suppliers with more energy-efficient business practices. Because this is a highly competitive and low-margin industry, the ability to reduce shipping costs through fuel reduction and more efficient routing may permit entities to pass those savings on to their customers. E-commerce entities also have an incentive to minimise the use of packaging. Efficient packaging can decrease costs by reducing the amount of purchased packaging material, as well as saving logistics costs because more products may fit into a single shipping load.

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Food & Beverage
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