ISS ESG - Pooled Engagement

Data category

Social data

Brief description of the data offering

ISS ESG's Pooled Engagement is a dialogue and engagement service that is carried out with companies identified through Norm-Based Research as facing credible allegations or verified reports that they are failing to adhere to established norms and standards relating to environmental protection, human rights, labour standards and anti-corruption. Pooled Engagement provides an efficient way for investors across markets to exercise active ownership.

ISS ESG's Pooled Engagement approach encourages companies to elaborate on efforts taken to design and implement better risk management systems at the operational level, to minimize the risk for re-occurrence of failures to respect international norms. Engagement set against clear and actionable engagement goals, based on expectations on the company's ability to address shortcomings in the context of its specific business sector and relevant industry standards, and measured against clear milestones.

ISS ESG initiates engagement with around 100 companies each year. At the outset of engagement, clear and actionable objectives, aligned with disclosure and performance expectations set out in recognized standards, are formulated by analysts with expertise in the relevant thematic field and familiar with the identified controversy.

The combined effort of participants in Pooled Engagement allows them to wield more influence and encourage greater disclosure by companies than if an engagement were conducted alone. Clients around the world, representing more than 1.6 trillion in USD in total assets under management, participate in Pooled Engagement. Currently, a group of approximately 45 asset managers and asset owners from a variety of regions - from North America to Europe to Asia - subscribe to the Pooled Engagement service.

ISS ESG regularly reports about engagement activities and, more importantly, about progress towards set goals. In addition, information on the status and progress of engagements is made available on an ongoing basis through ISS ESG's new online Pooled Engagement tool.

Where and how do you source your data?

Companies considered for inclusion to the Pooled Engagement process are sourced based on factors surrounding ISS ESG’s Norm-Based Research. ISS ESG carries out extensive dialogue with companies and expert stakeholders – governmental or inter-governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, academic organisations – to validate facts relevant to the incident or controversy and to the company’s response to it. Only companies that fail to respond to an incident in line with established norms and standards are subject to engagement.  

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?

  • Cost-effective approach to active ownership. Active participation in Pooled Engagement service provides a systematic and cost-efficient approach to active ownership across markets in response to controversies related to responsible business conduct.
  • Foundation of high quality, dynamic Norm-Based Research. The in-depth Norm-Based Research on which the service is based ensures the selection of relevant companies and engagement objectives.
  • The cumulative weights of shareholders’ voices. The pooled setting of the engagement outreach is designed to ensure the highest level of effectiveness. This collaborative engagement is often more effective in wielding influence and raising awareness with companies on the identified issues.
  • 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.


Through @ISSESG's Pooled Engagement tool, #investors have the ability to voice their concerns with companies that fail to respect established norms as well as those that face credible allegations. 

Find out more:

#ResponsibleInvesting #ESG


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

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