Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. - ESG Corporate Rating

Data category

  • Environmental data
  • Social data
  • Governance data
  • Ratings

What data do you provide?

Through its ESG Corporate Rating, ISS ESG provides investors with highly relevant, material and forward-looking ESG data and performance assessments. The rating methodology is based on an absolute best-in-class approach, evaluating company sustainability performance including ESG risks, opportunities and impact along the entire corporate value chain. The areas and indicators assessed are influenced by several factors such as international norms and conventions, social debate, regulatory changes and technological progress.

Whereas a standard set of around 30 universal ESG topics is assessed for all companies, the vast majority of indicators are sector-focused - hand-selected from ISS ESG’s pool of over 800 indicators by ISS ESG’s sector specialists. This approach is designed to ensure that the most material issues have a significant influence on the overall rating result. Furthermore, the social and environmental dimensions of the rating are weighted according to ISS’ industry classification system, which is based on the environmental and social impact of particular sectors.

The overall analysis is graded on a twelve-point scale from A+ (the company shows excellent performance) to D- (the company shows poor performance). “Prime” status is granted to those companies achieving best in class ESG performance, based on the sector exposure to environmental, social and governance impacts. The threshold for “Prime” status is based on absolute performance expectations which differ by industry.

The ESG Corporate Rating universe currently covers over 9,600 corporate issuers, including some 6,500 listed companies and 3,100 assigned corporate issuers across approximately 60 sectors. This coverage also includes more than 140 non-listed corporate bond issuers and additional small & mid-caps drawn from sectors with strong links to sustainability (e.g. renewable energies, recycling, and water treatment).

Where and how do you source your data?

ISS ESG’s Corporate Ratings data is primarily sourced from publicly available information, including a company’s own disclosure and reporting, proxy statements, reputable news, governmental and international institutions, recognised international or local non-governmental organizations, and non-biased subscription databases such as the CDP. 

During the rating process, considerable importance is attached to the dialogue with the company under evaluation. Every other year, ISS ESG provides companies with the opportunity to comment on and add to the provisional findings by submitting a draft rating report to the company for revision. After the period of consultation, the report is finalized, integrating the comments and additions that are deemed appropriate by the analyst in charge of the rating. 

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. 


Corporate Statements

A custom-built approach to ESG

ISS ESG puts a premium on its clients’ ability to customise the ESG data and analytics they can access, its CEO Marija Kramer tells Environmental Finance.

Guide entries