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Increasing investor demand for SAM ESG ratings

Increasing investor demand for SAM ESG ratings

16-04-2019 | Insight
After over two decades as a pioneer in sustainable investing, we seek to expand the reach and impact of our research by sharing our ratings with the global investment community. This insight shares our views on the current status of ESG ratings and how SAM is addressing increasing investor demand for the high quality research and data we collect through our annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).
  • In recent years, the market for ESG data and scores for a wide range of investment applications has grown rapidly
  • Innovative approaches to ESG scores and methodologies are necessary to serve distinct investor needs
  • Data collected via the CSA is now used as the basis for SAM ESG Scores, S&P DJI Scores and RobecoSAM Smart ESG Scores
The market for ESG data has grown immensely over the past years, and while ESG data is now more prevalent than ever, there are growing concerns about the quality of the data available in the market and confidence in its robustness. We believe this development is counterproductive, and poses risks for companies and investors. Over 20 years of experience in ESG ratings, asset management and the integration of ESG data into the investment process make us uniquely positioned to serve the needs of the investment community. With the CSA we believe we have the most comprehensive, reliable and holistic ESG ratings. Recent public recognition by both corporates and experts that our methodology provides the highest quality and most useful ESG rating has given us further confidence that the timing is right and the market is ready for SAM’s scores.

Innovative approaches to best serve distinct investor needs

Growing demand for ESG scores covering a wide range of investment applications also means that innovative new scores and methodological approaches are needed to serve distinct investor needs. Some ESG scores may be better suited for corporates to benchmark themselves against peers in their industry, while other scores may be better suited for quantitative investing approaches or to address a very specific ESG topic.

Recently, we saw the launch of the S&P 500® ESG index, the first in a series of new index products launched by our partner S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI). Using the data collected through our Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) to establish the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, we have created customized S&P DJI scores to be used in these indices. These scores were calculated specifically to serve the needs of an index provider, which may be slightly different to those of an active investment manager or a company. In order to serve their clients, S&P DJI has made both the S&P DJI ESG scores and SAM ESG scores available to both index and data clients through its SPICE platform and via direct data feeds.

Smart ESG scores available for asset management purposes

For asset managers, we have spent years creating and calibrating our Smart ESG Scores to optimize our approach to integrating ESG in quant and non-quant investment processes. These distilled ESG scores are thus more suitable for broader investment applications. Also based on our CSA data, these scores will be distributed through various channels to reach a wider investor audience. We’re seeing increasing demand for these scores from asset owners and asset managers and are currently finalizing partnerships to make them available to the broad market. These new partnerships will be announced as they are finalized .

In light of these innovative scoring approaches and the growing appetite for them in the investment community, we would like to clarify that for these reasons, different scores may exist for the same company on the same aspect, as data collected through the CSA is further engineered to make the final ratings more suitable for the end user’s intended investment purpose. Different ratings will be made available to the global investment community via both direct licensing (Smart ESG) and indirect licensing (scores “powered by SAM”) or through third-party agreements (such as with S&P DJI), however all applications of the SAM CSA data remain in strict accordance with our Use of Information & Confidentiality Policy, which ensures that company data is treated with the highest level of confidentiality while maximizing the utility of the resulting ratings for investors and company’s alike.

Currently available scores based on SAM’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment Data:

*Potential assets: As of March 2019 the S&P 500® has nearly USD 10 trillion tracking it – even a small portion of this moving towards an ESG version could shift a significant portion of assets towards the S&P 500® ESG.

For more information on the SAM ESG Scores or S&P DJI ESG Scores, please contact Guillaume Goton

For more information on RobecoSAM’s Smart ESG Scores, please contact our Data Licensing team

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