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This Week’s Tech and Tools News: Asset Owner-led Platform Extends Dataset

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news on technology and tools in the sustainable investing sector, including SDI AOP, ISS ESG, Euronext, YourStake and Datia.  

The Sustainable Development Investments Asset Owner Platform (SDI AOP), the body responsible for the development and maintenance of the SDI taxonomy, and financial intelligence company Qontigo have launched the SDI Innovation Outlook, which provides investors with forward-looking information by analysing the alignment of companies’ patent portfolios with the UN SDGs. The new SDI dataset builds on the SDI Classification dataset, which assesses companies’ current product and service-related contributions to the SDGs based predominantly on revenues. This new dataset is comprised of scores across 130 technology themes which have been identified through the SDI AOP taxonomy in a mapping process by AI partner Entis. The platform launched in 2020 and the dataset currently provides SDG-related data on over 2,200 firms. James Leaton, SDI AOP’s Research Director, said: “The analysis incorporates the quality and importance of individual patents, takes historical trends into account and provides granular insights for specific themes and technologies. The deployment of artificial intelligence to implement our SDG framework is essential to process the huge volumes of data.” 

ISS ESG, the sustainable investment arm of Institutional Shareholder Services, has released an Enhanced Corporate Rating Solution, which aims to assist investors in understanding how ESG risks and opportunities could impact the performance of their investment portfolios. The standalone financial rating and a combined ESGF rating will supplement its core ESG Corporate Rating and help investors identify portfolio companies exhibiting both strong financial performance as well as a positive ESG profile. These new data points are also available via ISS ESG’s proprietary platform DataDesk, and will be featured in ISS ESG Corporate Rating reports in 2023. Other key enhancements to the solution include a redesigned report that presents key outputs and signals, with further insights related to key issues and a materiality graph of SDG- and climate-related scores and metrics. Lorraine Kelly, Head of Investment Stewardship Solutions at ISS, said: “Today’s launch is the first in a series of ongoing investments by ISS ESG to enhance and differentiate our Corporate Ratings solution and to actively support our clients’ rapidly evolving ESG data integration, investment, and workflow needs. Further enhancements are planned for 2023.” 

Euronext, a pan-European market operator and post-trade services utility, has launched two gender equality indices: the Euronext Equileap Gender Equality Eurozone 100 and the Euronext Equileap Gender Equality France 40. The indices aim to meet increasing demand for social thematic investments by targeting listed companies committed to improving gender diversity, with the index methodology also applying activity-based exclusions, UNGC compliance and controversial activities exclusion. The companies included in the indices are selected based on their gender equality score across four different categories: gender balance in leadership and workforce, equal compensation and work-life balance, policies promoting gender equality and commitment, and transparency and accountability. Equileap, the gender equality score provider for the indices, assesses each company’s commitment to gender equality from its boardroom to its supply chain, and is inspired by the UN Women’s Empowerment principles. Camille Leca, Euronext’s Head of ESG, said: “The launch of these indices is representative of Euronext’s corporate culture and values. Our company is diverse and inclusive by nature, and we see all forms of diversity as a key success factor of our federal model.” 

US-based independent public benefit corporation YourStake has released a free library of EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) data for 200 of the top companies in the S&P 500 and Stoxx 600. The free SFDR data library covers all 18 mandatory and 46 optional SFDR principal adverse impact indicators (PAIs) sourced from a range of company reports reviewed by YourStake’s data team in one centralised location. Under the SFDR regulation, asset managers, financial advisers, and other providers will be required to disclose all funds’ environmental and social credentials. Patrick Reed, YourStake’s CEO and Co-Founder, said: “We were proud to bring this solution as a free offering for all to help make ESG investing more transparent. Since there is a gap in time between when funds and companies are required to disclose this data, we’re hopeful our solution can be a bridge to help create impact now.”  

Datia, a Swedish climate fintech company, has constructed a cloud-based platform that enables funds and asset managers to meet their European sustainability reporting requirements. Datia’s platform is built to generate SFDR reports, which are continually updated in line with the latest EU guidelines. The first major deadline is 30 June 2023, under which qualifying financial market participants will need to publish their first PAI reports under SFDR. Datia says its customer base of asset management companies is growing, with the majority being Article 8 and 9 funds. Juan Serruya, Datia’s CEO, said: “We focus on making our platform easy to use. We listen first and foremost to our clients. We seek their input and ask: ‘what can be done to simplify your work?’” 

The practical information hub for asset owners looking to invest successfully and sustainably for the long term. As best practice evolves, we will share the news, insights and data to guide asset owners on their individual journey to ESG integration.

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