By signing the ESG in credit risk and 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 150 investors (with nearly US$30trn in collective AUM) and 19 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 credit-relevant 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 Liberum Ratings
Cerved Rating Agency S.p.A. Microfinanza Rating
China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co., Ltd Moody’s Corporation
Dagong Global Credit Ratings Group RAM Ratings.
Fedafin AG Rating-Agentur Expert RA GmbH
Fitch Group, Inc Rating and Investment Information, Inc
Golden Credit Rating International Co., Ltd.. Scope Ratings
Japan Credit Rating Agency Spread Ratings
JCR Eurasia Rating S&P Global Ratings
Kroll Bond Rating Agency  

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

 

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

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