ESG Data Guide 2023

ISS ESG - ESG Corporate Rating

Data category

  • Environmental data
  • Governance data
  • Ratings
  • Indices/Exchange data
  • Research data

The data offers solutions for:

  • Environmental impact analysis and insight
  • Investment decisions and portfolio insight
  • Nature-based information
  • Nature-based information: Biodiversity
  • Nature-based information: Land use
  • Nature-based information: Oceans
  • Nature-based information: Water
  • Reporting: Impact
  • Social impact analysis and insight

Who are the data users?

  • Corporates
  • Trustees
  • Investors
  • Government
  • Financial institutions
  • Index providers; Institutional investors; Asset managers; Asset owners; Fund managers; Banks; Universities; Research firms

Brief description of the data offering

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 700 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 approximately 11,800 corporate issuers as of March 2022.

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.

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?

  • Sector-specific and materiality-focused approach. ISS ESG’s approach is sector-oriented; for each sector, a specific catalogue of indicators is selected, helping to ensure that the most material topics for each individual company are assessed. 
  • Forward-looking performance assessment. The ESG Corporate Rating applies a mid- to long-term approach to materiality, providing investors with forward-looking information on risks and opportunities of investments before they materialize.
  • Granular and rule-based methodology. ISS ESG’s rating methodology follows clearly documented guidelines covering rigorous data collection process and peer review in addition to dialogue with rated issuers requesting feedback on all relevant information. Information provided by the issuer is reviewed, discussed with the company, and assessed according to strict evaluation rules.
  • High level of detail and transparency. ISS ESG offers full transparency when it comes to sources of information and criteria weighting underlying the ESG Corporate 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 10,000 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. Content can also be delivered through bespoke data feeds, or via third-party channels such as FactSet or Bloomberg.


Get comprehensive insight into a company's sustainability performance with @ISSESG's Corporate Rating. The ESG Corporate Rating analyzes a company’s management of #ESG issues on the basis of up to 100 rating criteria, most of them are sector-specific.