ESG Data Guide 2023

Taking a fixed-income perspective on ESG ratings

Environmental Finance: Sustainable Fitch has recently announced the launch of its ESG Ratings products. What approach have you taken with the new product? 

Andrew Steel: After we integrated the transparent display of ESG risks into Fitch’s credit ratings, we saw a rise in the number of asset managers and owners asking us for detailed ESG ratings which went beyond financial materiality to include analysis on ESG performance, impact and outcomes. This gap in the fixed income market led us to build a framework for ESG analysis which captures these risks for both entities and individual debt instruments. 

Andrew SteelWe started from the fundamentals, by building an analysis framework from the bottom-up that provides asset owners with a modular, granular data set and commentary with a lot of emphasis on activities and outcomes, as well as aspirations. While the ESG Ratings will positively factor in science-based targets, they also recognise the impact of the business’s current activities. To get a proper cross-comparison of entity ESG performance between sectors, it is crucial not to under-emphasise current activities, or use ‘best in sector’ scoring where significant activity impact differentials exist.

By the end of this year, we anticipate that we will have covered around 900 entities and nearly 2,000 labelled and sustainability-linked bonds. 

EF: What interaction have you had with issuers on the ratings? 

AS: For every entity that we cover, we share the report we produce for commentary and feedback. The level of interaction from issuers was much higher than we anticipated: over 50% actively engaged with us on the reports that we’re producing. I think that’s because of the quality and the granularity in those reports.

Beneath the overall E, S and G factors, there are a large number of sub-factors, supported by a number of data sets. For instance, if an investor is interested in something as specific as environmental supply chain management, they can see a separate score and commentary for that, and compare it with other entities we rate. Our ESG Ratings provide a very high level of granularity. 

EF: The ratings are particularly aimed at fixed income investors. How has that guided the approach you’ve taken? 

AS: The detail and granularity we provide in our entity-level ESG Ratings means they can be used equally by debt or equity investors, allowing investors to pick and choose the aspects that are relevant to them. Our bottom-up approach in building the ESG Ratings also allows for easy aligment with different frameworks, whether the Sustainable Development Goals, ICMA principles, EU Green Bond Taxonomy or any other requested taxonomy.  

But for fixed income investors, it’s very much about the instrument-level ESG Ratings. There are two things that differentiate them. The first is that we cover all types of labelled or sustainability-linked debt instruments, not just bonds. The second is that we can also provide an ESG instrument rating for an issuer’s conventional bonds. This takes account of how they are aligned with its entity-level ESG framework and ESG policies, long-term aspirations and targets. That allows an investor to gain insight into whether, for example, a conventional bond from a telecoms company might better fit its ESG portfolio than a green bond from an oil company. 

EF: Separately to your ESG ratings, you also produce ‘climate vulnerability scores’ looking at longer-term climate risk. How do these work? 

AS: We have embedded our ESG Relevance Scores into Fitch’s credit ratings to provide a view on the financial materiality of ESG risk issues on a value-neutral basis. Lots of companies, however, are very good at managing near-term environmental and social risks to ensure there’s no financial impact. However, when you start to look longer-term, the changes to sector risk profiles may change significantly, depending on what type of climate scenario emerges, and influence how companies need to prepare for future risks. 

For our Climate Vulnerability Scores, we picked a 2°C scenario and looked at what actions will be needed for countries, industry sectors, and manufacturing processes to become net zero. An entity that may be effectively managing its environmental risk today might face a longer-term scenario where it becomes exposed to legislative changes that might shut part of its business down or dramatically change its cost profile. 

We can then use this information to start to connect credit impact with ESG performance. The short-term, value-neutral, financial materiality of ESG risks is displayed in Fitch’s credit ratings; the potential long-term credit risk from climate change is shown in the Climate Vulnerability Score; and the ESG Ratings show if and how the company is recognising and dealing with these longer-term risks. The granularity enables investors to either agree with or make their own alternative assumptions about which scenarios are likely to transpire.  

EF: What are the next steps for the ESG ratings product?

AS: We’re also building coverage of the leveraged finance market, working with a significant number of European and US managers. We’re aiming to have that completed by the end of the year. Once we’ve completed ESG ratings for the labelled bond universe, we’re looking at extending coverage to some of the conventional bond indices. Ultimately, over the long term, we aim to cover the entire bond universe, but we’ll be guided by the immediate requirements of investors.    

Guide entries by Sustainable Fitch

Verification (Third Party)

Carbon Emissions Scope 3 footprint

Modern Slavery footprint

Species extinction-risk footprint


iSA, iS, impak Score™, SFDR+i

Rainforest Alliance & Conservation International

Mettle Capital ESG Risk platform

MIS Second Party Opinion


Seafood Database

Second Party Opinion

ESG Rating, Reporting and Advisory

Climate and environment data hub

Sustainability Copilot


Sanctify ESG

Asset-level Indicators

Asset-based Analytics

Asset-based Company Indicators – Essential and Advanced

Bloomberg Sustainable Finance Solutions

India ESG datasets [BRSR taxonomy available]

9fin ESG


CARBON IMPACT ANALYTICS (CIA) For climate transition risk

CDP 2022 GHG Raw Emissions Dataset

CDP 2022 Full GHG Modelled Emissions Dataset

CDP 2022 Risks and Opportunities Dataset

CDP 2022 Scores

CDP 2022 TCFD-Aligned Climate Change Dataset

CDP 2022 Temperature Ratings


Global Landscape of Climate Finance

ESG Portfolio Check

Sustainable Finance Ai Suite (ESG, EU Taxonomy, Supply Chain Risk)

ESG Lead


EF Data

Equileap Gender Equality Data

Ethical Screening Portal


Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index

ESG research, data and reporting solutions

Forests & Finance

Forest 500


Greenomy EU Taxonomy/SFDR/EET Solution

Corporate Ratings

ETF Fund Ratings

Issuer ESG and SDG Benchmarking

Municipal Bond Data and Ratings

US Retirement Plans, including 401(k) and 403(b)

Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool

CBF – Corporate Biodiversity Footprint

SB2A – Science-Based 2°C Alignment

Global Impact Database



ESG Impact Rating

Green Bond Transparency Platform (GBTP)


Corporate Governance Information Search

JPX ESG Indices

LGX DataHub

Climate Data by Moody’s

ESG Data by Moody’s

Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Network

Nasdaq ESG Data Hub

Nasdaq ESG Data Portal

Nasdaq ESG Footprint

Informe Anual OFISO

ESG Solutions

Resolution Database

Second Party Opinions

SDI Asset Owner Platform

ESG Disclosures and Sustainability Report Assurance

Second-Party Opinions on Sustainable Bonds and Loans

Supply Chain ESG Risk Platform

UN SDG Impact Assurance




Sustainable Fitch ESG Ratings

Geospatial ESG Solutions

Sovereign ESG Ratings


White Stag Investing Investment Research in Water, Oceans and Biodiversity


Forest Atlases

Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch Pro



Resource Watch

WRI Aqueduct

Carbon Footprinting and Science-based Targets Support

Second Party Opinion - Thematic Bonds and Loans & Impact Assessment

TCFD Advisory and Support

Carbon & Climate Data

Carbon Footprint Report

Climate Impact Report

Net Zero Solutions

Climate Scenario Analysis and Implied Temperature Score

Climate Physical Risk

Transition Risk

Climate Advisory Services

Potential Avoided Emissions Data

Energy & Extractives Screening

Norm-Based Research

Country Screening

Sector-Based Screening

Country Controversy Assessment

Director Data

Executive Compensation Analytics

Voting Analytics

Governance QualityScore

E&S Disclosure QualityScore

ESG Muni QualityScore

Carbon Risk Rating

ESG Corporate Rating

ESG Country Rating

SDG Solutions Assessment

SDG Impact Rating

ESG Fund Rating

Water Risk Rating

Biodiversity Impact Assessment Tool

ESG Index Solutions

EU Taxonomy Alignment Solution

SFDR Principle Adverse Impacts Solution

Regulatory Sustainable Investment Solution

ESG Portfolio Analysis

ESG Raw Data

Global Sanctions Screening

Responsible Investment Policy Development

EVA (Economic Value Added)

Climate Voting Policy

Custom Climate Voting Factors

Bespoke Research & Advisory Solutions

ESG Scorecard

Controversial Weapons Research

CIARA – Carbon Impact Analytics for Real Assets

CDP 2022 Forest Corporate Response Dataset

CDP 2022 Water Security Corporate Response Dataset

Net Zero Finance Tracker

Sustainable Economy Intelligence

ESG Ratings & Analysis

SDG Analysis

Net Zero Analysis

Fund Due Diligence and SDR Labelling Reports

Ethical Research

Sustainable Funds Portal


Coller FAIRR Climate Risk Tool

ESG Solutions

Fund EET Data

Fathom’s Product Stack


Trase Finance

Dependency scores

Climate Positive Impact

Positive Impact Biodiversity

Carbon Footprint

Empirical ESG and Impact Data

Real Asset Analysis

ESG Newsroom

Norm-Based Engagement

Thematic Engagement

ESG Custom Rating

Cyber Risk Score

European ESG Template Solution

Environmental & Social Raw Data

Sustainability Insights Suite

ESG Reporting Platform for VC

ESG Solutions by MSCI

Climate and Net-Zero Solutions by MSCI

Biodiversity Solutions by MSCI

Sustainability Solutions for Corporates and Advisors


Rating Watch




ESG GPS ratings

Data for Nature Insights

Fund EcoMarket

State Street Risk Analytics Platform

TSC Water Security Index

SDG Impact for Public Companies

Universal Impact

Climate Ready Farms

Energy Access Explorer


Ocean Watch

Water, Peace and Security - Global Early Warning Tool 

Global Water Watch

WRI Open Data Portal

Systems Change Lab

Open Timber Portal 

ESG Clarified

WWF Risk Filter Suite

ICE Climate Physical Risk Data

ICE Climate Transition Analytics Tool

ICE ESG Company Data

European ESG Template (EET) solution

ICE Emissions & Targets Data

ICE ESG Geo-Analyzer Tool

ICE Impact Bond Classification Service

SFDR Principal Adverse Impact (PAI) Data

Task-force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) Data

ICE UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Data – Municipal Bonds

News Aggregator/Controversies Monitoring Tool

ESG Research and Data Services


CDP 2022 Climate Change Corporate Response Dataset

Green Bond Database

Social and Sustainability Bond Database

DEEP Value©

Benchmark ESG Disclosure Dataset


Modern Slavery Scorecard

LSEG Sustainable Finance and Investment Solutions

imug rating ESG-Investments

Briink AI ESG Copilot

ESG Relevance Scores

Climate Wisdom by

ESG, Climate & Nature

Global Integrated Energy Model

Clean Energy Procurement Service

Corporate Emissions Solution

Intentionality and Stewardship Data (Wealth)

Climate Data for Companies and Funds

Second Party Opinions

Product Involvement and Impact Metrics for Companies and Funds

Low Carbon Transition Ratings

EU Action Plan Solutions

ESG Risk Ratings

Physical Climate Risk Metrics

FactSet's ESG Investing Solutions

Physical Risk Analytics

Clarity AI Sustainability Tech Kit

AssetWisdom™ by

BIODIVERSITY IMPACT ANALYTICS POWERED BY THE GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY SCORE™ (BIA-GBS) for the biodiversity impact and dependencies of companies

NEC metric “Net Environmental Contribution”