ISS ESG - ESG Country Rating

Data category

  • Environmental data
  • Social data
  • Governance data
  • Ratings

Brief description of the data offering

ISS ESG's Country Rating solution provides a highly relevant and material assessment of a country's ESG performance, allowing investors to draw well-informed conclusions about the long-term solvency of government bond issuers. The rating comprises more than 100 quantitative and qualitative criteria and follows a profound methodology, reflecting global best practices as well as normative considerations.

The sustainability performance of countries is analysed via two dimensions and six categories:

Social and Governance Rating

  1. Political System/Governance
  2. Human Rights/Fundamental Freedoms
  3. Social Conditions

Environmental Rating

  1. Natural Resources
  2. Climate Change/Energy
  3. Production/Consumption

A wide range of ESG topics are assessed in the ISS ESG Country Rating including both qualitative and quantitative criteria. For instance, the safeguarding of fundamental freedoms by a country's government is mostly assessed in qualitative terms, while a country's consumption of resources is quantified. The rating also includes a comprehensive analysis of relevant controversies, allowing investors to consider countries' performance and actions in areas especially critical to them.

The rating dimensions environment, social and governance are comprised of specifically defined topics, which in turn are further split into several criteria and sub-criteria. This allows for an individual assessment of each country's performance in a very detailed way and to take into account the various individual interdependencies and multidimensional nature of the criteria.

The overall evaluation is based on a twelve-point grading system from A+ (excellent performance) to D- (poor performance). Countries are categorized as ISS ESG "Prime" if they achieve or exceed the minimum sustainability performance requirements (Prime threshold: B-) defined for the ESG Country Rating.

Coverage includes approximately 100% coverage of global sovereign debt issued and more than 120 countries as well as Hong Kong and the European Union.

Where and how do you source your data?

ISS ESG’s Country Ratings are based on a variety of trustworthy sources, including: 

  • Supranational organisations such as the UN Development Programme, World Health Organisation, and International Labour Organisation
  • Public authorities such as the US State Department and German Foreign Affairs Department
  • Non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International, International Trade Union Confederation, Transparency International, and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 

Direct contact via telephone or e-mail is conducted only occasionally if data is ambiguous or if more background information is necessary. 

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?

  • Profound Rating Methodology. The rating framework includes more than 100 indicators holistically measuring performance against global best practices and material normative considerations. ISS ESG’s rating methodology follows clearly documented guidelines covering rigorous data collection process and peer review.
  • High level of detail and transparency. ISS ESG offers full transparency when it comes to sources of information and criteria weighting underlying the ESG Country Rating, including all collected data at indicator level. Estimated data and disclosure ratio are available at a subcategory level.
  • 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.
  • Workflow benefits from technological innovation. Through its proprietary online platform, DataDesk, clients have access to more than 7,000 data points across ESG/financial themes, allowing investors to view and screen data across companies, to search and view detailed profiles by company, or to monitor portfolios and watchlists.


#Investors; Looking for a way to complement conventional financial ratings? @ISSESG’s Country Rating provides detailed assessments of the #SustainabilityPerformance and risks of all EU, OECD & BRICS countries & sovereign issuers from Asia & South America:


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

ESG Index Solutions

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