Global exchange and clearing house operator Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced today an expansion of its ESG reference data platform to include European companies, with the addition of the STOXX 600 Europe Index to its coverage.

Lynn Martin, President of Fixed Income and Data Services at ICE, said:

“As more companies report ESG data, and regulations vary in regions around the world, investors and other market participants need access to clean, primary data to benchmark against competitors and make like-for-like comparisons across companies, sectors and regions. Access to timely, high-quality and granular information allows customers to quickly evaluate financially material data points and provides a new level of transparency into the management and operational efficiencies of global companies.”

ICE’s ESG Reference Data offers detailed attributes and indicators, such as greenhouse gas emissions, board diversity metrics and nearly 400 other key metrics sourced from company and publicly available third-party sources.  The data set was developed in collaboration with Bank of America Global Research who are using the ESG data for building out its proprietary ESGMeter, which provides a score of a company’s likelihood of experiencing stronger financial stability over the next three years, based on quantitative and fundamental inputs.

Savita Subramanian, Head of ESG Research and U.S. Equity & Quantitative Strategy at BofA Global Research, said:

“By providing access to the granular underlying data that companies report as the information becomes available and delivering it in a normalized format, ICE’s ESG reference data is a unique offering in the market. ICE’s platform offers organized and unbiased information that is designed to meet the unique needs of investors and enhances the fundamental research and risk management process.”

The addition of the European index follows the expansion of the platform last month to include key U.S. indices and benchmarks. The STOXX Europe 600 Index represents large, mid and small capitalization companies across 17 countries of the European region.

With the inclusion of the European and U.S. indices, ICE shared some of the key findings from the platform, comparing data between companies in the region. For example, the data revealed that European companies are almost 50% more likely to have identified the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) on Climate Action as an objective for their business, and are also much more likely to report on Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, approximately 58% of European companies explicitly identified the UN SDG on Gender Equality as an objective, compared to 21% of American companies.

Subramanian commented:

“European companies are far more likely to have embraced ESG-related reporting and goals, while this remains a newer initiative among American companies. ESG infrastructure has existed for a longer time in Europe and there are regional and country-specific regulations that require specific disclosures and additional reporting requirements that do not exist in the U.S. Because of this, the demand for ESG products continues to grow and investors on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to satisfy these needs with more robust ESG data and analytics.”