The SAM CSA established by RobecoSAM is now issued by S&P Global. RobecoSAM an asset manager focused entirely on sustainable investing established the CSA in 1999. The CSA has become the basis for numerous S&P ESG Indices over the last two decades attracting billions of USD in assets. S&P Global’s acquisition of the CSA includes the transition of the related ESG ratings and ESG benchmarking teams that will operate out of S&P Global Switzerland, Zurich branch. This article outlines how the existing benefits of CSA participation will be enhanced and leveraged with the new set up in S&P Global.
CSA to form the backbone of corporate engagement on ESG at S&P Global
The CSA will form the foundation of S&P Global’s ESG research across its different divisions (S&P Dow Jones Indices, S&P Global Ratings, S&P Market Intelligence). The ESG methodology committee formed by representatives of S&P Global and RobecoSAM, will ensure consistency in the ESG vision and make sure that the CSA continues to address ESG with a focus on financially material criteria and that the resulting scores meet the requirements for a broad range of investment applications. The CSA will serve as a central point for defining ESG topics and data across the entire S&P Global organization. Similar to the way the CSA has been used at RobecoSAM and Robeco in the past, the insights derived from the CSA may be further engineered to suit specific product purposes or address specific stakeholder needs. For example, the needs of S&P Dow Jones Indices to create broad benchmark products may differ from those of S&P Global Market Intelligence, which provides data and analytics to clients. Going forward, the CSA will form the basis for S&P Global’s engagement on ESG with corporates. Using the information collected via CSA, S&P Global Ratings may perform more deep dive corporate ESG assessments through additional management interviews and ongoing monitoring.
Large increase in CSA score exposure to investors
The S&P Global platform will be leverages in a number of ways to ensure the CSA has the broadest possible reach within the investment community and the biggest impact on corporates and their stakeholders. Some examples of how the S&P Global platform will be leveraged include:
- Strong, global distribution channels for data and analytics, reaching the global investment community in unparalleled ways
- Collaboration across S&P Global divisions on ESG research and the use of ESG data
- Leveraging technology platforms to further enhance the CSA data and analytics
- Assessing new, complimentary data sets unique to S&P Global on a wide range of industry, corporate and ESG topics.
Confidentiality of underlying corporate data unchanged
Access and use of the CSA scores and underlying corporate data and documents will continue to be governed by the CSA Use of Information & Confidentiality Policy. The core CSA team will continue to have access to all data and supporting evidence as part of the process to analyze the data and create ESG scores and rankings. Different stakeholders at S&P Gobal RobecoSAM and Robeco will continue to have limited to access to data for internal research purposes. Access to the data will continue to be managed centrally, with the core CSA department in Zürich, Switzerland overseeing the governance of the data, as it is done today.
Leveraging technology to reduce reporting burden
With S&P Global's strong focus on data and technology, new ways to enhance the data in the CSA as well as the processes will be a core focus going forward. The integration of new technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence into the collection and processing of the data will be focus areas, in order make processes more efficient and effective for both companies and analysts. The new organizational structure will allow the CSA to leverage a wide range of technologies and services that already exist at S&P Global.