Where to find ESG data for free
ESG data can be expensive, but here are some ways to get it cheaper. One of the biggest problems in the ESG world is that it is that data is very expensive. Many firms don't have the budget to do allocate resources for high priced ESG data, or are limited in their selection. In this article we break down why ESG data is expensive, and where you can get ESG data for free (or cheaper).
Why is ESG data expensive?
The costs of collecting, analyzing and storing data are not cheap. And unlike financial data, there is no standardized process for determining ESG scores.
The complexity of ESG data and the lack of standardization in the process for assessing environmental, social and governance factors also makes it difficult to compare companies on these metrics. Regulators are trying to make ESG information more transparent by mandating that companies disclose them alongside their financials, but this is still materializing globally.
Traditional providers such as MSCI or Refinitiv employ armies of analysts to get this data from corporate disclosures (if it exists) and then normalize that data and provide it back to you. This is a very expenive process, with lots of quality control, and importantly - because this data is not disclosed very frequently (companies typically disclose ESG related data annually), there is less incentive to have a continuous subscription to a ESG data feed, along with risk of information leakage. All of this results in very expensive, and limited annual contracts.
Where to find ESG data for free (or cheaper)
There are a few places where you can get ESG related data for free:
Search for '[company name] + [ESG]' in Google News and you can likely get a list of different ESG related contraversies.
Company ESG and TCFD Reports:
If you Google '[company name] + [ESG report]' or '[company name] + [TCFD report]' you can find links to the most recent reports issues by companies. These are usually in PDF format and give you lots of insight into companies
There is lots of new software on the market that is more accessible that traditional ESG data sources (such as scores from MSCI, Refinitiv, Sustainalytics) such as ESG Analytics. ESG Analytics uses an AI based approach, which reduces the cost to insight, and enables more coverage of companies - with real time insights. A free trial is available as well.
Corporate Knights publishes an annual report on the Top 100 Sustainable Companies which is created from over 7000 companies with a market cap over $1B.
The best part about using the above websites is that you can get your hands on a wide range of information without spending a dime. If you do have some additional funds to spend, take a look at our article on The Top 10 ESG Data Providers.