Investing in ESG data providers or environmental social, Governance is gaining traction and wider acceptance. Investors demand higher transparency from the companies in their investment portfolio, especially on the company’s ESG risk management and the impact the company has on the environment and society.
Why ESG Data Providers?
With companies increasing disclosures on their risk management and ESG impact, investors need to use this data to track portfolio performance. While the disclosures are increasing, there is no standardization in disclosure frameworks, units, formats or even structure. While standard frameworks are available, they are not consistently adopted. Even these standard frameworks do not stipulate rigid reporting formats or units.
This is where ESG data providers help investors. ESG data providers use company disclosures and answer questions that can help investors evaluate the company’s risk management framework and ESG impact. Answering questions on the company’s ESG risk management framework and impact requires domain understanding, ability to normalize data, compare across peers and convert the data collected to structured formats that can be used by evaluation models.
The types of ESG data providers
Current ESG data providers can be largely classified as,
Market data provider collect comprehensive information on commodities, fixed income instruments, equity issuers, foreign currency markets and other market trends. As part of this coverage these data provider also provider certain information on the ESG performance of companies they cover. Usually ESG data provided by market data provider is largely quantitative and does not provide the depth of information sought by portfolio managers.
ESG assessment providers
These companies collect detailed ESG data, apply their methodologies and offer ESG assessments. These assessments are either offered as reports or the scores used to construct the reports are offered as data feeds. Assessment providers at times also offer some raw data points used in constructing the reports, for example SFDR data points.
Specialized ESG data providers
The specialized data provider are service providers who provide ESG metrics specific data with provenance. Usually these data provider work on a client request and specific data points are collected using methodologies prescribed by asset owners/managers.
Importance of ESG Integration
Multiple studies and analysis have proven that companies that manage ESG risks better also offer superior investor returns. Hence asset managers are increasingly using ESG criteria for asset selection and portfolio maintenance
These asset managers while seeking Alpha are realizing that using an off the shelf analysis available to all market participants is not helping in differentiating their portfolio strategy and hence are relying on specialised data provider to collect and analysis specific data that is being used in advance analytics.