There are two types of limitations: Methodology limitations and research limitations.
Because the methodology was simplified for India (with approximately half the number of indicators of the Global Index) the methodology is not as comprehensive as it could be. Moreover, this makes it more difficult to compare the scores of subsidiaries of multinationals in this Index to their performance in the Global Index. The India Spotlight Index methodology could be expanded in the future when the Index becomes established and if Indian stakeholders agree to such changes.
- Companies differ in terms of the scope of improvements they can make to the nutritional quality of their products depending both on the nature of their product portfolio and the magnitude of previous efforts. For example, a company with a product portfolio of relatively high nutritional quality has less scope to make improvements to its portfolio compared to a company that has a portfolio of lower nutritional quality. This difference limits the ability to compare the scope or magnitude of companies’ commitments to improve product formulation. This was one of the reasons why Ruchi Soya eventually could not assessed on several of the Corporate Profile Categories and has therefore not been ranked. Therefore, companies are assessed on whether they have commitments and targets to improve the nutritional quality of their product portfolios and on how well they are meeting these targets, rather than the absolute levels they have attained. However, the degree to which companies have scope to reformulate their products is indicated by their Product Profile score.
- The analysis relies on companies’ own definitions of ‘healthy’ products – the healthy multiplier used throughout the methodology is derived from a company’s score on criterion B2, which assesses the robustness of the company’s nutrient profiling system. (However, the Product Profile analysis provides an objective view of the nutritional quality of the companies’ portfolios).
- Guidelines or a framework to set out clearly what the private sector can do to tackle undernutrition are still lacking in some areas. The debate on the role of the industry continues and is expected to intensify in light of the publication of the Sustainable Development Goals.
As for the 2016 Global Index, Sustainalytics undertook the research for the Corporate Profile element of the India Spotlight Index. They first assessed material available in the public domain for each company and then offered the companies the opportunity to engage (where seven of the ten companies took and provided information via the data-gathering platform). As with the 2016 Global Index, this platform was used to manage and review all data.
- Confidential disclosures: Much of the data provided by the companies was confidential; this information cannot be referred to in the report but is included in the analysis and scoring.
- Limited engagement: Three of the ten companies did not engage in the research process nor did they disclose much information, this made assessment difficult. The scores of these companies are therefore much lower and may not be representative of what they actually do.
- Limited or no disclosure: Most multinational companies, compared to Indian-based companies, are used to disclosing their policies and publishing material about their practices on their websites and in formal reports. This too has affected the scores of the local Indian companies.