This Week’s Tech and Tools News: ICE Partners on Muni Social Impact Scores

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news on technology and tools in the sustainable investing sector, including ICE, Moody’s ESG, Theia Analytic Group, FiscalNote, Diligent Corporate and ISS. 

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has partnered with risQ, a start-up focused on geospatial climate and economic data, to launch a new social impact data service. It will provide social impact scores for the municipal bond market where proceeds are used to build public works, schools, libraries and other infrastructures. It will also assess how similar bonds issued by different local governments could impact the population at the municipal level, thus helping investors make more informed decisions about where to allocate their capital. Building on risQ’s geospatial data, the social impact scores will leverage public date sources and peer-reviewed statistical methods covering poverty, education, employment, housing costs, racial diversity and health challenges, in order to quantify socioeconomic vulnerability and need. These scores will therefore signal the potential social benefit an investment will have in a specific area. “These new social impact scores provide a deeper level of socioeconomic and demographic data on the municipal bond market, enhancing the decision-making process for investors as they execute their sustainable and socially-conscious investing strategies,” said Lynn Martin, President of Fixed Income and Data Services at ICE.

Moody’s ESG Solutions has launched its Global Company Screening tool, which will help investors assess companies’ degree of alignment with principles set by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), a corporate sustainability initiative. The Global Company Screening tool will assess 5,000 listed companies covering 36 data points, awarding each an ESG score out of 100 as well as a controversy screening on the UNGC’s Human Rights, Labour Rights, Environmental and Anti-Corruption principles. Moody’s Corporate has also recently announced the US$2 billion acquisition of climate and natural disaster risk modelling company RMS. This will accelerate Moody’s global integrated risk capabilities, helping investors better integrate global ESG standards into their portfolio management practices and to evaluate ongoing levels of ESG risk exposure across their portfolio holdings. “Global risks are now more complex, connected and systemic. Climate change and catastrophic events like extreme weather, pandemics and cyberattacks have broader and more harmful impacts across virtually all industries. RMS will be able to accelerate technology and model innovations while combining with Moody’s core data and analytics offerings for powerful, holistic solutions,” said Karen White, RMS CEO.

Theia Analytic Group, a US-based applied analytics company building quantitative tools to assist global stakeholders in aligning their governance structure to ESG-related goals, has announced it will be building governance-focused software-as-a-service products. These will aid problem identification and enhance understanding of what constitutes strong governance and business performance. This follows the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) plans to propose a mandatory rule for public companies to disclose a broader range of ESG data. “G, the key pillar of the ESG framework, lacks the data to complete the ESG narrative. Governance is no longer just about board oversight; it’s about the integration of sustainable best practices into your corporate business strategy to help define an outside-in view that allows stakeholders to understand your company’s value,” said Sanford Diday, Theia’s Chief Strategy Officer.

Global policy and market intelligence technology provider FiscalNote has acquired Singapore-headquartered company Equilibrium and will onboard its ESG management automation software. The software enables companies to improve their ESG performance, carbon accounting and reporting through its actionable insights. FiscalNote also provides ESG services and content through the firm-owned Oxford Analytica. “ESG is a rapidly growing regulated sector of the future. Our capacity to ingest data and produce deep, analytical content pairs extremely well with the workflow software developed by Equilibrium, effectively bringing together the tools ESG professionals require,” said Tim Hwang, FiscalNote Founder and CEO.

Diligent Corporate, a global provider of SaaS governance, risk and compliance, has acquired Accuvio, an ESG data aggregation and reporting software company. Specialising in sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Accuvio’s enterprise software has supported companies looking to meet the climate data demands of regulatory reporting and audit requirements. Using Accuvio’s sustainability reporting capabilities, Diligent ESG will aggregate real-time ESG data using robotic process automation across governance, risk and compliance for corporate executives and boards. Diligent ESG will also allow companies to track and disclose key metrics proving alignment with major regulatory frameworks and standards. “From our conversations across the more than 700,000 board members and leaders we serve, ESG is the most frequent topic in boardrooms and executive suites globally. [Accuvio’s] advanced climate capabilities and deep expertise in sustainability reporting will be an incredible addition to our agile platform,” said Diligent CEO Brian Stafford.

Sustainability and cyber security provider ISS Corporate Solutions has partnered with OneTrust Vendorpedia to design and launch the ISS Cyber Risk Scores. Available on OneTrust’s Third Party Risk Exchange, the ISS Cyber Risk Score will provide an empirical indicator of a corporate’s exposure to cyber security risk and associated supply chain risk, using machine-learning-based analytics to distil raw cyber intelligence into data. “We are extremely pleased to partner with OneTrust in furtherance of our mission to help companies identify and mitigate cyber security risks for the benefit of stakeholders and to avoid cyber risk compliance failures. CISOs and Vendor Managers will benefit from the visibility, risk posture, and holistic operation information across their networks that our cyber scores provide,” said Kimberly Manibusan, Head of Cyber Strategy at ISS.

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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