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ESG Evaluations Remain Unchanged For Now In Light Of COVID-19


ESG Evaluations Remain Unchanged For Now In Light Of COVID-19

LONDON (S&P Global Ratings) April 7, 2020--S&P Global Ratings has reviewed its portfolio of six public Environmental, Social, And Governance (ESG) Evaluations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and has left all scores unchanged for now. We will continue to monitor the portfolio.

ESG Evaluations are our view of an entity's capacity to operate successfully in the future and may be affected by the risks and disruptions caused by COVID-19. The ESG Evaluation comprises two assessments: the ESG profile considers near-term and observable risks and opportunities, and an entity's preparedness considers its ability to manage emerging, disruptive, and strategic risks. We consider this pandemic to be a social risk that could affect our view of the ESG profile of an entity--particularly the social profile--and a disruption that could affect our view of an entity's preparedness. We may revise our opinion of an entity's ESG profile and preparedness, and adjust our ESG Evaluation score appropriately. These adjustments could be either negative or positive, and would take into account the management team's efforts to mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19.

We could revise our ESG profile score if the pandemic:

  • Revealed strengths or deficiencies in the entity's management of social factors relative to its global peers including 1) workforce, especially in case of layoffs or reduced productivity; 2) the health and safety of its workforce, suppliers, contractors, and other key stakeholders; 3) changing consumer behaviors and preferences; 4) activities that support communities or diminish the company's social license to operate.
  • Hampered or accelerated the entity's ability to deliver on its ESG policy, commitments, or expected performance relative to its global sector peers.
  • Caused substantial disruption to the company's supply chain that resulted or could result in financially material consequences revealing better or worse management compared to industry peers.
  • Affected, either negatively or positively, the entity's reputation.
  • Revealed strengths or deficiencies in board oversight including financial reporting on COVID-19, executive compensation, board-level engagement, and communication with investors and stakeholders.
  • Revealed an entity's narrow stakeholder approach, which could manifest as a disproportionate allocation of value between the entity's stakeholders.

We could revise our opinion of preparedness if the pandemic:

  • Resulted in a significant change in the entity's strategy, and how effectively the entity executed its new strategy.
  • Revealed any weaknesses or strengths in the entity's ability to adapt and react to sudden changes resulting from emerging and disruptive risks.

We have six public ESG Evaluations, which we continually monitor. The table shows the current scores for the social factors, and preparedness.

Current Scores Of The Public ESG Evaluations From Social Factors And Preparedness
Unilever NextEra TenneT Renewi Repsol Masmovil
ESG Evaluation 89 86 83 75 68 67
Preparedness Best-in-Class Best-in-Class Strong Adequate Strong Adequate
Social Profile Factor Scores
Workforce & Diversity Good Good Good Good Strong Good
Safety Management Strong Strong Strong Good Good Lagging
Customer Engagement Strong Leading Good Good Strong Strong
Communities Strong Strong Strong Good Good Good

The Current Effect Of COVID-19 On Our ESG Evaluations

TenneT

We view TenneT’s preparedness for emerging and strategic risks as strong. During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, the company responded swiftly to mitigate risks by deploying well-rehearsed contingency plans. The company is strongly positioned to continue to provide its essential service of electricity supply, and maintain the safety of its overall workforce. We scored the company's assessment of risks as excellent, and TenneT continues to support this opinion through its articulation of the stresses placed on its workforce, its risk tolerances, and its awareness of workforce safety. As such, we uphold our ESG Evaluation score of 83 with Strong Preparedness.

Unilever

We uphold our ESG Evaluation for Unilever at 89 with Best-in-Class preparedness. This is our highest published score to date. Unilever has a large, global workforce and communicated its policy on COVID-19 on its public website. We view safety management at Unilever as strong due to its solid track record of reducing safety incidents. While occupational illness rates could spike this year, we expect the risk to be well-mitigated given the health and safety culture in place. Unilever's strong community engagement and full value chain approach is further supported by its recent announcement of support: donations of €100 million in soaps, sanitizer, and bleach, and food donations, and €500 million in payment relief to its suppliers.

Renewi

Our ESG Evaluation score of 75 with Adequate preparedness for Renewi remains unchanged. Renewi is provides essential services in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK, and is close to fully operational at present albeit with certain segments significantly lower for example restaurants, shops, bars, offices, amongst others. The operational workforce are key workers and continue to provide services with additional safety measures and altered routines to manage the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We feel that the company's safety management is in line with other waste services companies around the world. The company has disclosed its response, which includes following government guidelines, and it will take advantage of government support, where available, to protect its workforce. Some waste management companies are strongly positioned to handle additional demand in treating medical waste. Renewi is coordinating logistical support in collaboration with a decontamination expert to reuse medical masks at hospitals in the Netherlands.

Repsol

Repsol's ESG Evaluation score, unchanged at 68, continues to reflect our view of the company's strong preparedness and better-than-peers' management of its environmental and social risks in a highly exposed industry. We believe the current pandemic is exposing Repsol to two main risks: the first relates to the health and safety of its stakeholders, including its employees, customers and contractors, especially in operations that cannot be performed remotely. We note that the company has developed a country-specific action plan to ensure the safety of its employees and has engaged with the Spanish government to support its current policy response. We believe this is in line with other major European oil and gas, and exploration and production, companies. The second risk combines COVID-19 travel stoppages with unfettered crude oil supply and discounting on oil prices and refining margins, resulting in capital spending cuts across the industry. In this context, Repsol has announced that it will maintain investments allocated to low-carbon technologies, which is an important factor in our strong preparedness score. We will continue to monitor the effects COVID-19 may have on Repsol's business. At this point, our score of 68 with Strong preparedness remains unchanged.

Masmovil

Our ESG Evaluation for Masmovil is unchanged. Masmovil's ESG Evaluation score of 67, reflects our view of the company's relatively recent but growing awareness of, and commitment to, sustainability, its adequate preparedness for strategic risks, and the medium exposure of the telecoms sector to environmental and social risks. We believe the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the telecom sector in multiple ways, including via an increase in data traffic as a result of social distancing policies, potential operational disruptions associated with employees working from home or lay-offs, and health and safety risks. We believe Masmovil has adequately managed these risks so far, in line with its sector peers. The company has not experienced any significant network disruptions to date. It has also committed to retain all its employees, has required its staff to work from home, and has put in place a specific safety protocol for technicians who cannot work remotely. In the short term, Masmovil's ability to attract customers could be affected by new, temporary regulations in Spain, which prevent customers from changing telecom operators if this requires on-site engineering intervention. We believe the partial suspension of fixed portability is unfavorable for challengers like Masmovil, and positive for incumbents that want to retain market share. However, we do not expect this risk to influence our view of Masmovil's ability to attract new customers in the longer term. We will continue to monitor the effects COVID-19 may have on Masmovil's business and the company's response as the virus continues to spread, in particular its ability to retain customer satisfaction. At this point, our score of 67 with Adequate preparedness remains unchanged.

NextEra

Our ESG Evaluation for NextEra Energy remains at 86 with Best-in-Class preparedness supported by leading customer engagement. The company is responsible for the essential generation and supply of energy throughout most of the state of Florida through its regulated subsidiaries. While COVID-19 cases in Florida are expected to continue to grow rapidly, Florida Power and Light--NextEra's regulated unit--has already rolled out key customer engagement initiatives including a one-time approximately 25% bill reduction in May enabled by lower fuel prices. We expect that other risks to NextEra's unregulated business, which develops and operates renewable energy projects, will be largely mitigated by NextEra's supply chain management and integration efforts. We will continue to monitor the effects COVID-19 may have on NextEra's business, including the health and safety of its employees deemed essential workers, and market disruptions, as the virus continues to spread.

S&P Global Ratings' environmental, social, and governance (ESG) Evaluation is a cross-sector, relative analysis of an entity's capacity to operate successfully in the future and is grounded in how ESG factors could affect stakeholders, potentially leading to a material direct or indirect financial effect on the entity.

Related Research

  • How To Navigate The ESG Risk Atlas, April 11, 2019
  • How We Apply Our ESG Evaluation Analytical Approach, April 10, 2019
  • Environmental, Social, And Governance Evaluation Analytical Approach, April 12, 2019
  • The ESG Advantage: Exploring Links To Corporate Financial Performance, April 8, 2019

Please also see our ESG Evaluation site: https://www.spglobal.com/ratings/en/products-benefits/products/esg-evaluation

This report does not constitute a rating action.

S&P Global Ratings, part of S&P Global Inc. (NYSE: SPGI), is the world's leading provider of independent credit risk research. We publish more than a million credit ratings on debt issued by sovereign, municipal, corporate and financial sector entities. With over 1,400 credit analysts in 26 countries, and more than 150 years' experience of assessing credit risk, we offer a unique combination of global coverage and local insight. Our research and opinions about relative credit risk provide market participants with information that helps to support the growth of transparent, liquid debt markets worldwide.

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