A data verification period for Institutional Shareholder Services' (ISS) new Environmental & Social Disclosure Quality Score questions opened for companies on July 10, 2023 and will remain open until July 21, 2023. The data verification process reflects a comprehensive update to ISS's Environmental & Social Disclosure QualityScore scoring methodology, which ISS previewed in April 2023 and elaborated on in a June 2023 announcement.
ISS has stated that under the methodology updates, more than 150 factors/data points underlying the scoring have been revised, with approximately 50 factors retired, and more than 60 new factors added. ISS has stated that it expects the updated methodology to take effect in the third quarter of 2023, at which time rated companies Environmental & Social Disclosure Quality Scores will be revised to reflect the updated methodology.
While ISS did not provide advance detail on the specific updates to the scoring methodology, it stated that they include the following:
- Expansion of included topics to allow for more in-depth assessments of labor relations and occupational health disclosures.
- Improved tracking of disclosures in the areas of workforce diversity and equality, with the addition of gender pay gap factors.
- Enhanced assessment of disclosures concerning human rights for companies and their suppliers.
- Introduction of new participation factors in social and environmental initiatives and frameworks.
- Update to existing assessments of companies' natural resources profiles.
- Increase in granularity of reviewing carbon- and climate-related disclosures.
As a result, the ratings (and the verification process) now cover approximately 250 data points. Under the Environment pillar, most of the factors address Carbon and Climate reporting, but other categories addressed include Waste and Toxicity, Natural Resources, and Risks and Opportunities. Categories under the Social pillar include Labor, Health and Safety, Stakeholders and Society, Human Rights, and Product Safety, Quality and Brand.
During the July 10th through 21st data verification period, companies are encouraged to log-in to the ISS website to verify and confirm that ISS's data on a company accurately reflects the company's disclosures on the various factors, and submit any changes to their data to ISS, so that the new scoring under the updated methodology reflects the company's disclosures. Companies can log in to the ISS data verification website at https://login.isscorporatesolutions.com/icsplatform/#/login. Additional information, including how to request login credentials, is available at https://www.issgovernance.com/esg/ratings/data-verification/. Due to the extensive number of new and revised factors, companies should allow themselves sufficient time to review and confirm the data entries, which may require involvement of company resources in different departments, and companies should be prepared to provide relevant citations for the location of any disclosures that they wish for ISS to take into account.
Thank you to associate Natalie Abshez in our Washington, D.C. office for assistance with this update.