S&P Global Shifts ESG Scores Based on Investor Input
S&P Global Inc.
S&P Global, a leading credit rating agency, is adjusting its approach in response to feedback from investors, leading to the decision to no longer publish ESG scores alongside credit ratings.
This strategic shift reflects the challenges faced by rating providers in an evolving landscape where a consensus on effectively assessing the long-term financial implications of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors for issuers remains elusive.
Furthermore, reports highlight a persistent sense of confusion among investors regarding the formulation of ESG ratings. Despite discontinuing the inclusion of ESG scores within credit ratings, S&P Global emphasises that this modification will not waver its unwavering commitment to upholding ESG principles, criteria, and thorough research concerning environmental, social, and governance matters.
S&P Global elaborated on this choice, stating, "Our credit rating reports will now feature dedicated analytical narrative paragraphs, which we believe offer the optimal approach for conveying detailed transparency regarding ESG credit factors that significantly impact our rating analysis."
In 2021, the credit rating agency introduced alphanumeric scores ranging from one to five as a means of evaluating a company's ESG factors. This scoring system aimed to provide a straightforward and visual representation, essentially acting as a scorecard to underscore the importance of ESG considerations in credit rating assessments.
For instance, a closer look at the scores allocated reveals that Visa obtained a two for both "E" and "S" while securing a three for "G." Conversely, FirstEnergy, an Ohio-based utility company under scrutiny, received a four for "G," which aligns with S&P's second-lowest rating in this category.
It's interesting to note that industry experts believe this change by S&P Global will provide a more thorough understanding of the process the rating agency uses to determine a company's ESG rating.
S&P Global clarified their perspective, stating, "The intention behind our ESG credit indicators was to succinctly illustrate the relevance of ESG credit factors in our rating analysis. This adjustment does not undermine our ESG principles, criteria, or our extensive research and commentary on ESG-related subjects, including the influential role that ESG factors play in assessing creditworthiness."
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