PRI takes top spot in new ‘ranking of ESG data rankings’
A new study that was shared with Net Zero Investor today scores the world’s largest ESG data and ratings providers based on the quality of the political activity data they collect on companies.
It ranks ESG ratings providers according to their impact on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts of companies, investors, regulators, governments, and the society in general.
Labelled as 'a ranking of rankings', The UN's Principles for Responsible Investment (UN-PRI) secured the top spot in The Good Lobby Tracker, which seeks to provide information for investors, companies, and stakeholders to help them understand how ESG ratings providers contribute to CSR efforts, thereby measuring aspects such as transparency, accountability and climate disclosures, among others.
The study praises how the PRI sets new standards in climate-related concerns, governance, and comprehensive climate disclosures.
The Responsible Lobbying Framework secured second place, leading the way in advocating for transparency and accountability within corporate lobbying.
Earning the third spot in the ranking, the OECD Principles which stands out for their emphasis on transparent disclosure of lobbying activities.
Moody's, S&P, and the World Economic Forum in the 8th, 9th, and 17th place.
“Investors are becoming more and more interested in knowing how companies organise their lobbying because this can become financially material," noted Alberto Alemanno, a business and law professor at HEC Paris, who is the driving force behind the project.
However, "the amount of data ESG data providers gather is very modest, very far from where it should be," he said.
He stressed that his "research initiative aspires to list all the qualities a regulation on corporate political transparency should have while providing companies the chance to self-assess its own corporate political activities against emerging best practices, and investors a reliable tool to have a fuller picture of how to make investments decisions."
Claiming the second position globally with a score of 106, the Responsible Lobbying Framework, launched in 2020 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is championing transparency and accountability in corporate lobbying.
Notably, the initiative introduces a concept of "substantial public sanctions" for corporate lobbyists who contravene company policies—a testament to its commitment to accountability.
Ranking third, the OECD Principles received a score of 103 due to their recommendations for enhancing transparency and integrity. These principles excel in promoting complete and transparent disclosure of lobbying activities, emphasising the provision of information to enable public scrutiny.
"All these initiatives can move up or down the scale on the tracker based on the degree of transparency and accountability they require companies on their political activities," Alemanno said.
He elaborated: "As a result, companies can improve their political conduct by following emerging reporting practices, conducting internal governance reviews, de-risking membership in trade and industry associations, and joining leading companies in action initiatives."
Looking ahead, Alemanno envisions "a future where corporate political responsibility is not an exception, but the norm."