S&P Global announces plans for acquisition of ESG ratings business

26 November 2019 by Grace Coleman
blog author

S&P Global has announced plans to acquire the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) ratings business from RobecoSAM.

The premier resource for essential ESG data, ratings, benchmarks and insights has had a long-standing successful partnership with Robeco, a Netherlands-based specialist
in sustainable investment, with the announcement further strengthening the collaboration.

The acquisition includes the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) – which evaluates companies’ sustainability practices annually and is recognised as one of the most advanced ESG scoring methodologies.

The ESG Ratings Business is made up of two parts: one administers the SAM CSA for the purpose of issuing ESG Ratings and the second provides in-depth reports to companies keen on understanding their performance relative to their peers.

The acquisition will enable the New York City-based credit ratings giant to offer its clients comprehensive and transparent ESG solutions. Its clients will benefit by accessing
one of the most unique datasets based on information that analyses more than 4,700 global companies, based on ESG criteria that are industry-specific and financially material.

RobecoSAM and Robeco will continue to focus on the interpretation and application of ESG data and sustainable investing research for its core asset management activities, and -
under the terms of the deal - will still have access to the CSA data for use in investment strategies and provide advice on the CSA Methodology.

Douglas Peterson, S&P Global president and CEO, said: “Through this acquisition, S&P Global is bringing an additional layer of critical insight to our leading suite of ESG product offerings, which will further enable our customers to create resilient strategies, build a sustainable future, and meet the expectations of an evolving market.

“Beginning with the launch of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index over twenty years ago, RobecoSAM has been an exceptional partner in our shared commitment to bringing essential
ESG intelligence, data and insight to the financial markets.

“Today’s announcement is an exciting next step in the evolution of our partnership that will allow S&P Global to create market differentiating ESG products and deliver new content and capabilities to our customers.”

The CSA was first launched in 1999, in collaboration with S&P Dow Jones Indices (a Division of S&P Global) and has become one of the world’s most extensive databases
of sustainability information.

Karin van Baardwijk, vice chair of the board of directors at RobecoSAM, said: “The ESG data landscape is changing rapidly and data providers are evolving along with it. S&P Global
is best positioned to maintain and build on the leading position of the CSA, which will continue to benefit Robeco, RobecoSAM, and their clients.

“This transaction will allow us to focus on the successful integration and application of the CSA data that is used in many of our investment processes. Sustainable Investing is
our key strength. We have carefully crafted our expertise in this area for over 20 years and been recognised for our excellence through numerous awards and the trust which clients put in us to help them invest sustainably. We will continue to invest and innovate in our Sustainable Investing capabilities to ensure we not only remain at the forefront of this exciting field but also expand our leading position.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. 

This year, S&P Global also introduced several flagship ESG products. These include the S&P 500 ESG Index; an expanded suite of Trucost climate analytics and new distribution options; and the S&P Global Ratings ESG Evaluation, which follows the 2017 launch of the S&P Global Ratings Green Evaluation.