Sam, a sustainability investing specialist, and index provider Dow Jones Indexes have launched the Dow Jones Sustainability (DJSI) Asia Pacific and the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific 40 indexes. A first license for the DJSI Asia Pacific has already been signed by Dutch private bank Theodoor Gilissen to manage a sustainability-driven separate account.

Like all Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, the new offering is based on Sam's analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance. The assessment accounts for general as well as industry specific sustainability criteria for each of the 57 DJSI sectors and covers a variety of issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards and human capital.

"With the addition of Asia-Pacific benchmarks, the DJSI series now comprises dedicated indexes for each of the three major investment regions, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Americas," says Michael Petronella, Princeton-based president of Dow Jones Indexes. "As many market participants allocate their assets across this regional split, today's expansion of our index family completes the DJSI's coverage of regional developed equity markets."

Sustainability remains firmly on investors' agendas despite the global financial crisis, says Alexander Barkawi, Zurich-based managing director at Sam Indexes.

"Nature doesn't do bailouts. Issues such as climate change, water scarcity and risk management will continue to drive corporate success -- and increasingly so," says Barkawi. "Our new Asia-Pacific index allows market participants to reflect this momentum for a key investment region."

Based on Sam analysis, the new DJSI Asia Pacific tracks the top 20% of the largest 600 companies in the developed Asia-Pacific markets. The current composition includes a total of 122 sustainability leaders -- 77 from Japan, 30 from Australia, 7 from South Korea, three each from Hong Kong and Singapore, and two from Taiwan. As a subset of this broad index, the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific 40 Index (DJSI Asia Pacific 40) measures the performance of the largest 40 sustainability leaders in the region. In contrast to the DJSI Asia Pacific which is weighted according to free float market capitalisation, the DJSI Asia Pacific 40 is weighted based on Sam's sustainability scores. Both indexes are rebalanced annually in September.

Launched in 1999 by Dow Jones Indexes and Sam, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes are the longest running global sustainability benchmarks and are today used by investors and asset managers in 16 countries. Following a best-in-class approach, the indexes measure the performance of the world's sustainability leaders. Companies are selected for the indexes based on a comprehensive assessment of long-term economic, environmental and social criteria that account for general as well as industry-specific sustainability trends. Only firms that lead their industries based on this assessment are included in the indexes. The indexes are created and maintained according to a systematic methodology, allowing investors to appropriately benchmark sustainability-driven funds and derivatives over the long-term.