ICE Aims to Become “Golden Source” for ESG Company Data 

APAC expansion in ESG company data looks to address issues including greenwashing and demand for “quality data” from clients. 

Global data, technology and market infrastructure provider Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) recent expansion of its ESG Company Data in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will meet “increasing amounts of interest” from investor clients looking to report and manage ESG risks, according to Larry Lawrence, the firm’s Head of Sustainable Finance Products. 

ICE’s ESG Company Data now offers global coverage of 16,000 companies across 105 countries, offering granular data mapped to approximately 1.4 million corporate equity and fixed income securities. Lawrence confirmed that APAC now makes up around 30% of ICE’s total global coverage, roughly 4,800 companies.  

According to Lawrence, the region is experiencing an “increasing need for more ESG data to power more reporting, to power the construction and building of portfolios”.  

ICE hopes to become the “golden source of [ESG] data,” he added.  

ICE’s data encompasses roughly 550 different ESG attributes. These include renewable energy policies, toxic emissions, and waste and water efficiency metrics for environment. For social, this includes everything related to benefits, workforce composition, human capital training, as well as product quality and safety. Its governance attributes feature board compensation, board independence, diversity ownership control metrics, and alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  

The firm’s ESG Company Data covers the most broadly tracked global and regional indices. Following the company’s APAC coverage expansion, it now provides data on all the constituents included in the most widely used benchmarks in the region, including the Nikkei 225, ASX300, Topix 1000, and Shenzhen 300. It has also increased the numbers of constituents covered in its global fixed income benchmark – the ICE BofA Global Corporate and High Yield Index (GI00) – to more than 19,000. 

Lawrence said that due to a number of market developments, including heightened incidence of greenwashing, the need for “more quality data” and a movement away from ESG scores, means the company is focused on collecting factual content that it can then harmonise across the different reporting formats that companies publish, in order to provide consistent and comparable information to its clients. 

“We’re seeing a lot of activity and interest in APAC, both on the data side and on the index side”, he said. APAC investors will “finally have transparency and easy access to that content all in one place where they can access different tools and capabilities from us”.  

“Fund transparency is where I think a lot of our clients in Asia are looking to gain more data,” he added.  

Lawrence emphasised the importance of timely data. “Once you’re in our platform or if you’re getting a feed, we want you to feel confident that information is updated within a reasonable period of time and that you have the most current information out there, so you can feel confident to use it,” he said.

He also underlined that coverage of fixed income had historically been “underserved by the ESG market”.

In January, ICE also expanded its global corporate emissions and targets data, which now covers more than 600,000 fixed income securities. This expansion results from the integration of climate data provided by Urgentem, which ICE acquired in June 2022.

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