INVESTING/PORTFOLIO STRATEGIES

Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings launches website for comprehensive ESG data

Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings introduced a website Thursday that plans to make available a comprehensive database of ESG rating firms and ESG indexes for institutional investors, designed to bring more transparency and comparability for investment decision-makers, said Mark Tulay, chief operating officer.

The platform describes, among other details, how ESG rating firms — such as MSCI, Institutional Shareholder Services, Sustainalytics, Vigeo and CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) — make decisions on rating and assessing the particular ESG metrics they measure for performance. For index providers, the platform details how the providers decide which companies to include or exclude in their ESG benchmarks, among other information.

The website, including its database and research, is accessible for free to investors, Mr. Turley said.

Information for the database comes from publicly available sources on 98 ESG organizations and 252 of their products. GISR seeks to confirm the information with each provider, which can then update the data as its product line grows or changes, Mr. Turley said.

GISR opened the website with a limited number of ESG rating firms and index providers and their products and expects to complete a comprehensive database by the end of the year, Mr. Turley said.

GISR doesn’t make any judgment or evaluation of the ESG rating firms and index providers or their products, Mr. Turley said.

GISR hopes the platform, by providing useful tools for institutional investors to evaluate ESG services, will accelerate and enhance the integration of environmental, social and governance risk factors into the global financial markets.

GISR, founded in 2011 by Ceres — a coalition that includes investors working with companies on climate change and other sustainability issues — and Tellus Institute — a sustainability research and policymaking organization — is supported financially by State Street Global Advisors, TIAA-CREF, Morgan Stanley (MS), Pax World Management, among other institutional investors, and others.

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