ESG Ratings: Findings on Variation Between ESG Ratings Providers

November 11, 2022

The Review of Finance recently published a paper entitled Aggregate Confusion: The Divergence of ESG Ratings, which disclosed the findings of an investigation into the “divergence of sustainability ratings.” The authors investigated six ESG ratings providers: Kinder, Lydenberg, and Domini (KLD); Sustainalytics; Moody’s ESG (Vigeo-Eiris); S&P Global (RobecoSAM); Refinitiv (Asset4); and MSCI. The paper found not only that the ratings providers failed to reach the same conclusion on a company’s ESG rating, but also that “in most cases there was little agreement among them” and that “ESG rating divergence is not merely a matter of varying definitions but a fundamental disagreement about the underlying data.” The paper was supplemented by a subsequent Wall Street Journal article written by one of the paper’s authors.

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