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Where to find free ESG data

ESG integration doesn’t have to be expensive. In this report, we outline how to find and use free ESG datasets. 

THE AVAILABILITY OF FREE ESG DATA SOURCES IS GROWING

As the prevalence of ESG considerations for investors grows, more public companies have been publishing sustainability reports. According to the Governance and Accountability Institute, the percentage of companies in the S&P 500 publishing sustainability reports has risen from ~20% in 2011 to ~85% in 2017.

Regulators have also been facilitating the availability of ESG information. In Europe, companies with over 500 employees are mandated to report on certain ESG criteria.

However, not everyone has the means to extract sustainability data from public domains. Knowing exactly what ESG information to extract, particularly from unstructured sources, can act as an additional barrier to integrating freely available sustainability data.

Below we summarise where to find free ESG data and how to integrate it into SRI strategies – from sources that rate corporate sustainability performance, to providers of more granular ESG data.

ESG RATINGS

Several ESG ratings providers offer free versions of their datasets. Compared to paid-for datasets, updates may not be as frequent, historical data availability may be more limited, and access to granular sub-category sustainability scores is a luxury for those with large ESG budgets.

This is not to say free ESG scores are useless – they provide a cost-effective and convenient baseline for building a proprietary ESG evaluation model, which can be overlaid with more granular and timely datasets.

Providers of free ESG scores include:

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Analyst Contact

Julia Asri Meigh VP of ESG Research (London)