By Lim Hwee Ming, Research Librarian, Accounting & Business
Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings have been a popular topic in investing as well as in academic research in recent years.
What are some resources to get one started on this topic? In terms of literature, a good starting point would be a recent 2020 review by Professor Liang Hao - Corporate social responsibility and sustainable finance: A review of the literature as well as Inside the ESG ratings: (Dis)agreement and performance.
Beside the literature, another important resource is the data.
SMU’s Accounting and Finance Research Librarian has prepared a factsheet, FAQ as well as a summary table to compare the ratings, coverage and scope of the subscribed databases on ESG data from different database providers.
- Table 1: Summary table on ESG ratings
(Note: Rating metrics are subject to changes from the different rating agencies)
|ESG Report Provider||Background||Coverage and data fields||Rating metrics|
|Bloomberg ESG Data||Bloomberg provides ESG metrics for over 11,500 companies across over 70 countries.||Historical data since 2008 with more than 1,000 data fields, with global scope.||Percentile scores (0-100)|
|Refinitiv ESG Company Scores||Refinitiv EIKON provides ESG data for close to 9,000 companies. Scores are updated on a weekly basis.
Formerly known as Thomson Reuters ESG Research Data, ASSET4 scores are accessible through Datastream database.
|Historical data since 2002 onwards, with more than 500 data metrics, with global scope.
Refer to the Refinitiv ESG scores from website.
|Percentile rank scores (available in both percentage and letter grade from A+ to D-).|
|FactSet Truvalue Labs||Truvalue Labs is the first company to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high frequency ESG ratings from 19,000+ public and private companies.||Historical data since 2007 for U.S. companies and since 2015 for non-U.S. companies, with 4 key scores and 26 metrics, with global scope.||Percentile scores (0-100)|
|MSCI ESG Manager (Funded by the Singapore Green Finance Centre)||ESG Ratings coverage of 14,000 companies representing more than 680,000 securities.||ESG index history going back over 10 years for the MSCI World, back to 2013 for the MSCI Emerging Markets.
Refer to the MSCI ESG Indexes from website.
|Letter grade (AAA-CCC)|
|S&P Global Ratings ESG Scores (Funded by LKCSB and SOA)||S&P Global Rating offered both core and specific datasets. The core datasets are Environmental data, Carbon data (Scope 1, 2 and 3).
Other specific datasets include Trucost Environmental; Trucost Paris Alignment; Trucost Physical Risk and Trucost Carbon Earnings at Risk.
|7,000+ companies in 2019. Environment data (15,000+ listed companies) since 2005, and since 2017 for Scope 3 downstream. ESG scores are also based on SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment, providing total-, dimension- and criteria-level scores across 68 criteria and 61 industries.
Refer to the brochure from website.
|Percentile scores (0-100)|
|Sustainalytics (via WRDS)(Funded by LKCSB)||Sustainalytics an independent ESG and corporate governance research, ratings, and analysis firm.||Cover more than 4,500 companies and all major global indices. Historical coverage since 2009, with over 70 core and industry specific indicators.
Refer to the factsheet from website.
|Percentile scores (0-100)|
- DBS impact measurement project: Technical review
- ESG reports and ratings: What they are, why they matter
- Inside the ESG ratings: (Dis)agreement and performance
- The global sustainability footprint of sovereign wealth funds
- Why ESG investing should matter to Singaporeans
- ESG investing: No place to hide thanks to Morningstar, Bloomberg, MSCI, and multiple global data providers