ESG Data Guide 2023

ISS ESG - SDG Impact Rating

Data category

  • Environmental data
  • Governance data
  • Ratings
  • Social 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: CSRD
  • Reporting: Impact
  • Reporting: UN SDGs
  • Social impact analysis and insight

Who are the data users?

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

Brief description of the data offering

ISS ESG’s SDG Impact Rating provides a holistic metric of impact using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a reference framework. The rating measures the extent to which companies are managing negative externalities in their operations across the entire value chain to minimize negative impacts, while at the same time making use of existing and emerging opportunities in their products and services to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. 

The company’s impact is measured thematically, following the SDG framework, as well as at an aggregated level. For each of the seventeen SDGs, a company’s impact is determined by three pillars:

SDG Impact Reporting

As a result, the SDG Impact Rating provides 120 distinct data points per company, allowing for granular thematic assessments, as well as aggregate impact measurements.

The rating and underlying scores are presented on a scale of -10 to +10, allowing categorization according to SDG-related impact into five groups:

SDG Impact reporting 2

The SDG Impact Rating is underpinned by data and insights sourced from four industry-leading ISS ESG solutions:

  • SDG Solutions Assessment
  • ESG Corporate Rating
  • Norm-Based Research
  • Controversial Weapons Research

 Coverage includes 11,800+ corporate issuers as of March 2022.

Where and how do you source your data?

Data for the SDG Impact Rating Products and Services Score as well as the Operational Performance Score are updated based on company disclosure such as annual and/or segment reporting, the company’s website and other documents such as sustainability reports or investor presentations.

The analyst in charge of the assessment takes all relevant and available sources into account to estimate the share of net sales a company generates with relevant products. Estimated sales percentages are based on the following assessment of publicly available information:

  • Reported sales revenue: Exact value of net sales generated with relevant products and/or services reported by the company.
  • Proxy-based estimated sales revenue: Share of net sales generated with relevant products and/or services estimated with "high" or "medium" certainty.
  • Industry knowledge-based estimations: No information disclosed regarding the share of revenue derived from products and/or services within the portfolio, and no concrete evidence available that would allow for an estimation with a higher certainty level.

Data for the Controversy Score is updated continuously, based on relevant events, qualitative research, and ongoing news screenings. Data is sourced from a range of reputable public sources in addition to feedback from company and stakeholder engagement.

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?

  • Holistic impact assessment. The SDG Impact Rating measures a company’s impact on the SDGs based on three pillars: products and services; operational management; and involvement in and responsiveness to controversies. This is based on a holistic understanding of impact acknowledging that companies can have both negative impacts and positive impacts in different SDGs.
  • Fully aligned with the SDG framework. Ratings are provided for each of the 17 SDGs, as well as at an aggregate level. Breakdown of products and services, operational impacts and controversies also provided for each of the seventeen SDGs. 
  • A granular bottom-up methodology with comprehensive evaluation guidelines. For each individual sustainability objective, a qualitative analysis is conducted to determine whether a product or service category makes a significant or limited net impact towards attaining the objective.
  • A thematic approach weighing both positive and obstructing impact. ISS ESG’s impact analysis allows for a nuanced assessment of the sustainability quality of products and services. A given product category’s positive impact to the achievement of one objective can be displayed at the same time as its obstructing impact on the achievement of another objective.
  • 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.


@ISSESG’s SDG Impact Rating is unique in its ability to provide detailed assessments on a company’s positive or negative impact on all 17 #SDGs across three key pillars; products and services, operations management, and controversies. Learn more: