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Issue 20 - June 2014

With all the different sustainability rankings being published, it can be difficult for companies and investors to make sense of the varying methodologies and results, potentially undermining the integrity and utility of such efforts.

Some lists rank companies across disparate sectors (i.e., energy and finance) on the same set of environmental, social and governance measures. Others, like the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations (a Canadian list), explicitly compare companies to their industry peers, raising awareness about best industry practices in addressing key sustainability challenges. Still others, such as Las 20 Más Sostenibles or the upcoming Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking (launching in September 2014) focus on regional sustainability leaders.

Setting itself apart is the bi-annual corporate progress report from Ceres and Sustainalytics, Gaining Ground: Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability. Though not a ranking in the traditional sense, the report groups U.S. companies into industry tiers based on their performance across a set of material sustainability measures. The methodological framework developed by Sustainalytics is based on Ceres’ trailblazing report, The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability. The subsequent joint progress reports provide year-over-year comparisons, allowing companies and their investors to track positive and negative shifts in company performance, addressing a common criticism of more traditional rankings.

From Sustainalytics’ vantage point, leading sustainability rankings have offered considerable value and guidance to companies, their investors and the general public. Our hope is that they will continue to promote dialogue on what it means to be a truly responsible company.

Analysts' Insights

U.S. Insurers Show Dramatic Improvements in Climate Change Disclosures
by Silvana van Schaik

Silvana Milenovici, Analyst, Research ProductsIn recent years U.S. insurers have made great improvements in their sustainability reporting in regulatory filings. A significant number of companies are incorporating climate change risks into their reporting putting the industry ahead of its financial industry peers. Financial sector analyst Silvana van Schaik examines the reasons behind the improved reporting within the industry and the signal it sends to investors. 

Read U.S. Insurers Improve Climate Change Disclosures

Cache 22: Data Protection and Surveillance Programmes
by Georgiana Ungureanu 

Geogiana Ungureanu, Analyst, Research Product

The European Court of Justice recently found the Data Protection Directive invalid. Although this is good news for consumers and data privacy advocates, the ruling poses potential challenges for companies in the information technology communications sector. Analyst Georgiana Ungureanu explores the implications of the changing regulatory framework, the increased media scrutiny, and greater consumer awareness around data privacy and protection.

Read Cache 22: Data Protection and Surveillance Programmes

Controversy Assessments Can Aid Norms-Based Investment Approach 
by Jean-Florent Helfre

Jean-Florent Helfre, Responsible Investment Manager

Sustainalytics’ Jean-Florent Helfre explains why assessing company involvement in controversial incidents aligns well with the norms-based investment approach being adopted by an increasing number of French investors. 

Read more about controversy assessments

Product Spotlight 

Sustainalytics Data Available on Bloomberg

Bloomberg terminalSubscribers to the Bloomberg Professional service now have access to a subset of Sustainalytics' company ESG ratings and scoresAs a third-party research provider, Sustainalytics’ ESG assessments will be made available to Bloomberg’s 320,000 users. Subscribers to both platforms will have access to more in-depth assessments of approximately 1,600 global, developed market companies ranked against their industry peers across 15 performance indicators.

To learn more read our press release. To access Sustainalytics' assessments via Bloomberg, please contact your account manager or contact one of our offices.

Sustainalytics' Perspective

U.S. Corporations Gaining Ground on Road to Sustainability 

Gaining Ground: Progress

On April 30, Ceres and Sustainalytics released the second progress report to Ceres' seminal publication The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability. Gaining Ground details the progress of over 600 U.S. companies on key sustainability metrics. While there appear to be pockets of leadership across various industries, overall corporate America is still taking baby steps when it comes to incorporating sustainability into the fabric of their operations and reporting on their progress.  

Visit the Ceres website to view sector reports and in-depth analysis of company performance:

Download Gaining Ground: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability

Drones & Human Rights: Emerging Issues for Investors
by Ilse Griek, Andres van der Linden & Terence Berkleef

Drones & Human Rights: Emerging Issues for Investors

As the use and development of drone technology continues to expand globally, debate over the potential human rights-related violations intensify. In our recently published report and upcoming webinar, Sustainalytics weapons expert Terence Berkleef and human rights specialist Ilse Griek explore emerging issues and concerns for investors. 

Download Drones & Human Rights

Event details: 

Date: Thursday, June 26, 2014 
Time: 10:00 EST/14:00 CET 

Best Practice Guidance for Policy Makers and Stock Exchanges on Sustainability Reporting Initiatives 

Cover photo: Best Practice Guidance for Stock Exchanges on Sustainability Reporting InitiativesIn case you missed it…

In 2013, Sustainalytics drafted this report on behalf of the UNCTAD-ISAR Consultative Group on Sustainability Reporting Initiatives. The guidance document prepared for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development seeks to assist stock exchanges and regulators who are interested in introducing sustainability reporting initiatives or strengthening existing ones.

Download the Best Practice Guidance for Stock Exchanges on Sustainability Reporting Initiatives

Inside Sustainalytics

ESG on the Ground - Corporate Access Trip

ESG on the GroundESG on the Ground was a one-week field trip in Asia focused on enhancing investors’ understanding of the ESG risks and opportunities related to a specific investment theme. Comprised primarily of company site visits, investors witnessed firsthand the realities of companies’ day-to-day operations. 

Sustainalytics’ first ESG on the Ground corporate access trip took place May 12 to 16 and focused on Investing in Commodities in Southeast Asia: An ESG Perspective. Investors had the opportunity to further their understanding of the material ESG risks related to five key commodities in Southeast Asia: palm oil, rubber, gold, coal, and oil and gas. During the trip, eight investors met with 12 companies, and visited the operations of six of them. They engaged with the CEOs, CFOs and operational managers of prominent companies involved in the overall commodities value chain. 

If you have questions about Sustainalytics ESG on the Ground Corporate Access Trips please email

Canada’s Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations

Canada's Top 50 Socially Responsible CorporationsOn June 5, Sustainalytics released the sixth annual Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations list, in collaboration with Maclean’s and L’actualité. Based on our research, the list features Canadian companies that perform well across key environmental and social dimensions within their industries. To learn more about the Top 50 and to see who made the list this year visit our webpage:

UNGC Communication on Progress

Sustainalytics recently submitted its communication on progress to the UN Global Compact. As part of our commitment to the UNGC, Sustainalytics provides a written update on our progress on implementing the 10 principles of the Global Compact. Sustainalytics’ communication on progress is available on the UNGC website.

Consultation on the Canada Business Corporation Act

Industry Canada recently conducted a broad consultation on corporate governance issues for the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA). This consultation was an opportunity for the investment and business communities to submit recommendations to the federal government on the elevation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in the Act.

As a pioneer of responsible investment in Canada, Sustainalytics submitted several recommendations for consideration. Our recommendations included mechanisms to help ensure corporations adhere to international rules to combat bribery and corruption, ways to encourage board diversity and means to boost shareholder rights with respect to voting, communication and board accountability. Click here to read the complete list of recommendations submitted by Sustainalytics.

Winner of the Sustainalytics-Schoemaker Award 

Remco Slim, winner Sustainalytics-Shoemaker Award

Congratulations to Remco Slim, winner of the inaugural Schoemaker-Sustainalytics Student Competition on Business and Human Rights. Remco started his internship with Sustainalytics earlier this month. In addition to working at Sustainalytics, he will also complete a research paper.


Analysts' Insights

Product Spotlight

Sustainalytics' Perspective

Inside Sustainalytics


Sustainalytics in the Media

Have your say - Publication Survey

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19 June, 2014
Bloomberg Industries Roundtable - Supply Shocks: Environmental and Social Risks & Resilience in Supply Chains - New York

26 June, 2014
SpainSIF SRI Week - Madrid

July (Date TBC)
Bloomberg Webinar: Stranded Assets

10 September
TBLI Nordic - Oslo, Norway

16 September
CSR Asia Summit - Hong Kong

22 September
PRI Academic Conference - Montreal, Canada

24 September
PRI in Person - Montreal, Canada

Visit our website for a full listing of events

View upcoming events in the Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series.


The CSR Minute: ESG Research by Sustainalytics Carried on Bloomberg - 3BL Media

Ceres report: US corporate progress on sustainability remains incremental  - The Guardian

Sustainability and 21st Century Corporations: Are we gaining enough ground? -

First Ranking of Corporate Sustainability in Colombia Published -


Sustainalytics | Your responsible investment partner

Sustainalytics supports investors around the world with the development and implementation of responsible investment strategies. The firm partners with institutional investors, pension plans, and asset managers that integrate environmental, social and governance information and assessments into their investment decisions.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Sustainalytics has offices in Boston, Bucharest, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Singapore, Timisoara and Toronto, and representatives in Bogotá, Brussels, Copenhagen, New York City and San Francisco. The firm has 160 staff members, including more than 100 analysts with varied multidisciplinary expertise and thorough understanding of more than 40 industries.