An alliance of financial institutions, investors and sustainable investment-focused service providers including HSBC, Deutsche Bank and the GRI announced today the launch of ESG Book, aiming to provide a central source for accessible, transparent and comparable ESG data.     

According to the alliance, while more than $100 trillion of assets under management have committed to align with sustainable investing goals through the Principles to Responsible Investment (PRI), and businesses are increasingly setting ambitious sustainability goals, a lack of accessible and consistent ESG data has created a barrier to capital flows from investors and financiers to support low carbon and sustainable business activities.

Developed by ESG-focused financial technology company Arabesque, ESG Book is based on a mission to create ESG data as a public good, available to all companies, investors, standard-setters and stakeholders, and supports the ten principles of the UN Global Compact, which encompass human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.

Georg Kell, Chairman of Arabesque, said:

“The launch of ESG Book marks the evolution of corporate sustainability. It enables more comparable and higher quality ESG data, thereby advancing the mission of making markets more sustainable. Through a technology-driven approach, Arabesque is committed to making ESG data available to all as a public good.”

Founding members of the alliance supporting ESG Book include The International Finance Corporation, ISAR, Global Reporting Initiative, Bridgewater Associates, Swiss Re, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, HKEX, Glass Lewis, QUICK, Allianz X, Bank Islam, Goldbeck, Werte Stiftung, WBCSD, Climate Leadership Coalition, Climate Governance Initiative, Climate Policy Initiative, Climate Bonds Initiative, Responsible Jewellery Council, GeSI, and Arabesque.

Dr Celine Herweijer, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, HSBC, said:

“Institutions and investors need access to reliable and comparable sustainability data, in order to mobilise finance for the biggest enablers of the transition to net zero. Digitalising, streamlining and aligning that information, as ESG Book aims to do, will help banks to navigate the sustainability data landscape and optimise our customers’ transition journeys.”

The principles underlying ESG Book envision companies as the custodians of their own data, and directly connected to their stakeholders to report on the most material and valuable issues requested by investors. ESG data should be reported in a clear and consistent manner, should be readily accessible to all stakeholders, and should be framework neutral.

The initiative also aims to ease the reporting burden with ESG data that can be mapped across a range of frameworks simultaneously over time. As an example provided by the alliance, if a company discloses emissions according to GRI, other reporting questionnaires can be populated with the same data.

Dr Daniel Klier, President of Arabesque, said:

“Alongside a coalition of founding partners, we are excited to launch ESG Book and deliver a new digital solution that connects companies, investors and standard-setters for a more accessible and centralised approach to corporate sustainability information. Through this platform, we aim to shape the future of ESG data.”

Click here to access ESG Book.