By signing the ESG in Credit Ratings Statement, credit rating agencies and fixed income investors commit to incorporating ESG into credit ratings and analysis in a systematic and transparent way. To date, the statement is supported by more than 130 investors (with over US$26trn in collective AUM) and 16 credit rating agencies (CRAs).

This statement remains open to new credit rating agency and investor signatories.

Contact fi@unpri.org for information on how to sign up.

We, the undersigned, recognise that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can affect borrowers’ cash flows and the likelihood that they will default on their debt obligations. ESG factors are therefore important elements in assessing the creditworthiness of borrowers. For corporates, concerns such as stranded assets linked to climate change, labour relations challenges or lack of transparency around accounting practices can cause unexpected losses, expenditure, inefficiencies, litigation, regulatory pressure and reputational impacts.

At a sovereign level, risks related to, inter alia, natural resource management, public health standards and corruption can all affect tax revenues, trade balance and foreign investment. The same is true for local governments and special purpose vehicles issuing project bonds. Such events can result in bond price volatility, and increase the risk of defaults.

In order to more fully address major market and idiosyncratic risk in debt capital markets, underwriters, credit rating agencies and investors should consider the potential financial materiality of ESG factors in a strategic and systematic way. Transparency on which ESG factors are considered, how these are integrated, and the extent to which they are deemed material in credit assessments will enable better alignment of key stakeholders.

In doing this the stakeholders should recognise that credit ratings reflect exclusively an assessment of an issuer’s creditworthiness. Credit rating agencies must be allowed to maintain full independence in determining which criteria may be material to their ratings. While issuer ESG analysis may be considered an important part of a credit rating, the two assessments should not be confused or seen as interchangeable.

With this in mind, we share a common vision to enhance systematic and transparent consideration of ESG factors in the assessment of creditworthiness.

How credit rating agencies support this vision

The credit rating agencies listed below recognise the needs of investors for greater clarity on how ESG factors are considered in credit analysis. In order to achieve this shared goal to enhance systematic and transparent consideration of ESG factors in the assessment of creditworthiness, the credit rating agencies listed below affirm their commitment to:

  • evaluate the extent to which ESG factors are creditrelevant for different issuers;
  • publish their views transparently on the ways in which ESG factors are considered in credit ratings;
  • review the ways ESG factors are integrated into credit analysis as our understanding of these factors evolves;
  • maintain organisational governance and resourcing to deliver quality ratings, including ESG analysis where relevant;
  • participate in industry-wide efforts to develop consistent public disclosure by issuers on ESG factors that could impact their creditworthiness;
  • participate in dialogue with investors to identify and understand ESG risks to creditworthiness.
                                                   CREDIT RATING AGENCY SIGNATORIES
Axesor Rating Microfinanza Rating
Beyond Ratings Moody’s Corporation
China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co., Ltd RAM Ratings.
Dagong Global Credit Ratings Group Rating-Agentur Expert RA GmbH
Golden Credit Rating International Co., Ltd.. Rating and Investment Information, Inc
Japan Credit Rating Agency Scope Ratings
JCR Eurasia Rating Spread Ratings
Liberum Ratings S&P Global Ratings

How investors support this vision

The investors listed overleaf are all signatories to the six UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. In signing the Principles, the investors listed below affirm their commitment to:

  • incorporate ESG factors into investment analysis and decision-making processes;
  • seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by investee entities;
  • report on activities and progress towards implementing responsible investment.

Specifically, as fixed income investors, and as the primary users of credit ratings, the signatories of this statement will support formal integration of ESG factors into ratings. This helps ensure ESG risks are appropriately addressed in investment decision making, which will increase investor confidence in the quality and utility of those ratings. To support these efforts, these investors seek to participate in dialogue and engage in collaborative initiatives with other investors and credit rating agencies to further efforts to integrate ESG.

INVESTOR SIGNATORIES
Aberdeen Asset Management CCOO, FP IVM Caring Capital PIMCO
ACTIAM CDC - Caisse des dépôts et consignations Janus Henderson Investors Principal Global Investors
Addenda Capital Inc. Challenger Limited Jarislowsky, Fraser Limited Prudential Portfolio Managers (South Africa)
AEGON Asset Management Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. Kempen Capital Management NV Public Investment Corporation (PIC)
Alberta Investment Management Corporation Church of Sweden KfW Bankengruppe Public Sector Pension Investment Board
AllianceBernstein (AB) CIBC Asset Management Inc. KLP QBE Insurance Group Limited
Allianz Global Investors Colchester Global Investors Limited La Francaise AM QIC
Allianz SE Colonial First State Global Asset Management Länsförsäkringar AB RBC Global Asset Management
AlphaFixe Capital Inc. Commonfund Legal & General Investment Management Régime de Retraite de l’Université de Montréal
AMP Capital Investors Connor, Clark & Lunn Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. Royal London Asset Management
Ardea Investment Management DDJ Capital Management, LLC Local Government Superannuation Scheme Sanlam Investment Management (SIM)
ASR Nederland N.V. Delta Alternative Management LocalTapiola Asset Management Ltd Sarasin & Partners LLP
Australian Ethical Investment Ltd. Domini Impact Investments Lombard Odier Saturna Capital
AustralianSuper EGAMO Longfellow Investment Management Co., LLC Schroders
Aviva Investors ERAFP - Etablissement de Retraite Additionnelle de la Fonction Publique Pension Scheme M&G Investments Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) AB
AXA Group Erste Asset Management GmbH Maple-Brown Abbott Limited SKY Harbor Capital Management
AXA Investment Managers Federal Finance Mariner Investment Group, LLC. Sparinvest S.A.
Bank J. Safra Sarasin Ltd Fiera Capital Corporation MFS Investment Management Stone Harbor Investment Partners LP
Barings LLC First State Superannuation Scheme Mirova T&D Asset Management Co., Ltd.
Bâtirente Fonds 1818 MN TD Asset Management (TD Asset Management Inc.)
BlueBay Asset Management LLP Fonds de réserve pour les retraites - FRR Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc. (MBII) The Pensions Trust
BMO Global Asset Management Generation Investment Management LLP Neuberger Berman Group LLC Tokio Marine Asset Management Co., Ltd. Japan
BNP Paribas Asset Management Geroa Pentsioak EPSV Nikko Asset Management Co. Ltd. Treehouse Investments, LLC
Brandywine Global Investment Management, LLC Global Evolution NN Investment Partners Triodos Investment Management
Breckinridge Capital Advisors Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) Norwegian Government Pension Fund Norway Union Asset Management Holding AG
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation Gramercy Funds Management OFI Asset Management Union Bancaire Privée, UBP SA
British Columbia Municipal Pension Plan Handelsbanken Asset Management Öhman University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation
Brown Advisory Hermes Investment Management Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Vancity Investment Management
BT Pension Scheme HESTA Super Fund OP Wealth Management Victorian Funds Management Corporation
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec HSBC Global Asset Management Ostrum Asset Management Wellington Management Company LLP
Caja Ingenieros Gestión SGIIC, SAU IFM Investors Partners Group AG Wespath Investment Management
California Public Employees’ Retirement System CalPERS Income Research & Management Pax World Zurich Insurance Group
Calvert Research and Management Insight Investment Pegaso - Fondo pensione complementare  
Candriam Investors Group Investec Asset Management PGGM Investments  

 

This statement remains open to new credit rating agency and investor signatories.

Contact fi@unpri.org for information on how to sign up.