ESG Data Guide 2022

ISS Corporate Solutions - Second Party Opinion

Data category

  • Verification/certification data
  • Third-Party Opinion

Brief description of the data offering

ISS Corporate Solutions (ICS), works in collaboration with ISS ESG, the responsible investment arm of Institutional Shareholder Services, as the distributor of SPOs.  While the SPOs are sold and distributed by ICS, the analytical work to prepare and issue SPOs is performed by ISS ESG. ICS’ Second Party Opinion ("SPO") services provide issuers with an independent assessment of their Green, Social and Sustainability-linked financing frameworks. Those that meet ICS's rigorous global standards give investors the security that the projects they fund are suitably sustainable. 

The SPO comes in the form of a written report, detailing three core areas: 

  1. The alignment of the issuer's Financing Framework with best market practices and relevant standards such as the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Green/Social/Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (for bonds), the LMA Principles (for loans), or the EU Taxonomy Delegated Acts. Other regional standards may be considered, e.g. ASEAN Green Bond Standards.
  2. Use of Proceeds structures: The quality of environmental, social and governance (ESG) management of the eligible project categories and selection criteria (measured against sets of key performance indicators). Sustainability-linked structures: The relevance, core nature and materiality of selected KPIs and the level of ambition of associated sustainability performance targets.
  3. The issuer’s business exposure to ESG risks and the sustainability strategy of the issuer, to demonstrate the sustainability credentials of the instrument and issuer to potential investors, whilst avoiding reputational risk and greenwashing accusations.



Where and how do you source your data?

  1. The Sustainable Financing Framework is provided by the client
  2. The information used to analyse the quality of ESG management is provided by the client
  3. The data informing the issuer’s business exposure to ESG risks and sustainability strategy is based on publicly available information and internal data available at ISS ESG
  4. The information on potential controversies on the projects financed by the issuer are retrieved analysing mass media and public databases

Who are the data users?

  • Corporates
  • Financial institutions
  • Government

What is the cost for your data offering?

Pricing is based on several factors, including the number of different project categories or KPIs/SPTs within the issuer’s framework. For full pricing discussions, please contact ISS Corporate Solutions directly.

What are the key attributes that differentiates the data you offer?

  • Leading SPO market expertise. ICS has more than 25 years of expertise in the ESG market and was one of the first SPO providers and Approved Verifiers by the Climate Bond Initiative in the green bond market.
  • Leverages leading in-house ESG data solutions. ICS’ SPOs are underpinned by data and insights sourced from industry-leading ISS ESG solutions, including the Climate Solutions and ESG Corporate Ratings.
  • Experience across issuer types and asset classes. ICS has been a pioneer in developing and applying new methodologies for the measurement of ESG and climate impacts across a variety of asset classes. It has delivered 450+ Second Party Opinions and has been the first SPO provider to offer a Sustainability-Linked Bond SPO in 2020. Moreover, more than 30 languages are spoken across the team, including Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and many others.
  • Applicability across various client types. Issuers benefit from an independent opinion of the Instrument’s Sustainability Quality & Impact, while investors have confirmation that the bond or loan meets their sustainability requirements.


ICS helps companies design & manage their corporate #governance & executive compensation programs to align with company goals, reduce risk & manage the needs of a diverse shareholder base by delivering best-in-class data, tools, and advisory services:


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