How to Read ESG Scores

ESG Data adds a layer of accountability to corporate reporting. Awareness leads to disclosure, which leads to action.

UnifyImpact’s ESG scores appear on a scale from 1 to 10.  The best way to understand our data is to remember ESG Data is a tool to add layers of accountability to corporate reporting.  

For companies, the first step towards sustainability is Awareness.  Companies that understand ESG issues are more likely to do something about them.  However awareness is not enough.  Companies that are aware of their ESG problems, but don’t do anything about it score 1’s and 2’s on UnifyImpact.

The next step is Disclosure.  Corporate reporting is required by the SEC on certain ESG topics but not all.  The more a company reports about its sustainability performance, the more it becomes accountable to stakeholders.  Following the standards on corporate reporting is enough to get 3’s and 4’s on UnifyImpact.

The third step on the pathway to sustainability is Management.  Companies that score 5’s and 6’s on our Impact Values have active policies to improve their performance on ESG issues, are more likely to improve performance in the future and are more likely to avoid the risk associated with ESG crisis along the way.  Check out our blog “Why Trust ESG?” for more on sustainable investing as a form of risk aversion.

The fourth step is High Performance. Companies that score 7’s or 8’s may have heads of sustainability or departments dedicated to ESG risk management and are moving towards industry leadership on ESG issues.

Few publicly traded companies score 9’s and 10’s on UnifyImpact’s Impact Values.  Sustainable investing is all about balancing the best ESG performance with the best financial performance. But a company with a score that high is truly Setting Industry Standards for ESG performance in a certain area and has sustainability at the core of its mission.

Recap

  • Awareness
  • Disclosure
  • Management
  • High Performance
  • Setting Industry Standards

The Breakdown

For those who prefer to go by numbers, here is the breakdown.  Keep in mind, these are general descriptions.  Each impact value has its own unique set of descriptions, which you can explore in the app.

10: B-Corp companies / sustainability is the core of business objective

9: Pinnacle of excellence

8: Leadership & innovation

7: Integral to business strategy

6: Established but work to be done 

5: Making progress on implementation 

4: On the business agenda but limited evidence of implementation 

3. Mentioned in corporate reporting, however, inconsistently

2: No evidence on the business agenda

1: Harmful to the environment, society, poor corporate governance, controversial actions.

Check out our blog on Data Partnerships to learn more about where our data comes from.

Or simply SIGN UP to check out the data for yourself.

About UnifyImpact

UnifyImpact is a platform designed to help individual investors make sustainable investment decisions. The web-based application rates public companies based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors to help investors make informed decisions that align with their personal values. Users can create a profile based on values that are most important to them, track the progress of companies they’ve invested in and read up on news based on their investment portfolio.

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