ISS ESG - Country Controversy Assessment

Data category

Social data

Brief description of the data offering

As ESG investing has gone mainstream in the public equity space, the spotlight has turned to fixed income investments and sovereign bonds in particular. Investors increasingly recognize that ESG factors, such as corruption, climate protection, and human rights, could impact the long-term solvency of government bond issuers.

ISS ESG's Country Controversy Assessment enables investors to assess a country's exposure to various controversies, including alignment with international norms and conventions, to effectively manage potential ESG risks and opportunities. The assessment covers various ESG factors across the following themes:

  • Authoritarian Regime
  • Biodiversity
  • Child Labour
  • Climate Protection
  • Coal Power
  • Corruption
  • Death Penalty
  • Discrimination
  • Euthanasia
  • Freedom of Association
  • Freedom of Speech and Press
  • Global Peace Index
  • Human Rights
  • Labour Rights
  • Military Budget
  • Money Laundering
  • Nuclear Power
  • Nuclear Weapons
  • Whaling

Coverage for the Country Controversy Assessment includes more than 800 sovereign issuers:

  • Approximately 100% coverage of global sovereign debt issued
  • More than 120 countries as well as Hong Kong and the European Union
  • All member countries of the European Union and the OECD

Where and how do you source your data?

Analysts gather the controversy-related information from credible and acknowledged external sources, such as indices and blacklists, and the ISS ESG Country Rating to deliver high-quality, relevant and actionable data.

Examples of sources:

  • Amnesty International
  • Financial Action Task Force
  • Germanwatch
  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Who are the data users?

Data is used by a broad range of institutional investors, asset managers, asset owners, fund managers, banks, government institutions, universities and research firms.  

What is the cost for your data offering?

Pricing is based on the method by which data is delivered. ISS ESG can provide data via its proprietary platform, DataDesk, or via data feed. Pricing for this solution is available upon request. 

What are the key attributes that differentiates the data you offer?

  • High quality data. ISS ESG’s comprehensive Country Controversy Assessment methodology, supported by strict internal quality management systems, is based on recognized value systems that are continuously adapted to the latest developments and insights in the field of sustainability.
  • Insights from industry specialists. ISS ESG employs a dedicated team of researchers with specialized backgrounds in global norms, offering insight and dedicated experience on the environmental and social issues identified. The team’s broad language skills and understanding of ESG issues allows it to identify, analyse and track controversies.
  • International expertise and local support. Exceptional client service is a hallmark of the ISS ESG business model with local research, consultants and operational support represented in a dedicated service team. The client support team builds the bridge for clients to the highly experienced team of analysts to help ensure that clients are supported by knowledgeable, skilled professionals to support business objectives.
  • An integrated environmental, social and governance solution. The service combination of the various governance and responsible investment related services offered by ISS allows investors to address ESG challenges with one common approach and rely on global account management and research teams able to offer coherent and unified answers and solutions to their ESG needs. ISS ESG is a true one-stop shop, able to support investors across all ESG related topics.


@ISSESG's Country Controversy Assessment enables investors to assess a country’s exposure to various #controversies, including alignment with international norms and conventions, to effectively manage potential #ESG risks and opportunities.

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Corporate Statements

Turning knowledge into action

Maximilian Horster, head of ISS ESG, foresees several trends will shape the environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment space over the next 12 months. Environmental Finance spoke with him to see how ISS ESG is tailoring its data, index and reporting solutions as a result

Guide entries

Bespoke Research & Advisory Solutions

Carbon & Climate Data

Carbon Footprint Report

Carbon Risk Rating

Climate Advisory Services

Climate Impact Report

Climate Voting Policy


Controversial Weapons Research

Country Controversy Assessment

Custom Climate Voting Factors

Custom Rating

Director and Board Data

Energy & Extractives Screening

Environmental & Social Disclosure QualityScore

ESG Corporate Rating

ESG Country Rating

ESG Fund Rating

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ESG Portfolio Analysis

ESG Raw Data

ESG Scorecard

EU Taxonomy Alignment Solution


Executive Compensation Data & Profiles

Global Sanctions Screening

Governance QualityScore

Norm-Based Research

Pooled Engagement

Potential Avoided Emissions Data

Responsible Investment Policy Development

SDG Impact Rating

SDG Solutions Assessment

Second Party Opinion

Sector-Based Screening

SFDR Principle Adverse Impacts Solution

Shareholder Meeting Results

Stewardship Toolkit