Money in hands with leaf growing

New York–based Fitch Ratings has launched a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings products, the global rating agency said in a release on Wednesday.

The new ratings, from “Sustainable Fitch,” assess the ESG performance and profile of all types of debt instruments and financial entities, including financial institutions, the release said.

“Fundamentally, the focus of the ESG rating analysis is on action, outcome, impact and activity rather than purely on policies and broader commitments,” it said.

Coverage will initially focus on the ESG-labelled market, but the firm said it aims to eventually cover the entire fixed-income investable universe.

Sustainable Fitch builds on the 2019 launch of Fitch Ratings ESG Relevance Scores, which show the impact of ESG factors on credit rating decisions and are maintained on over 10,500 issuers and transactions, the release said.

Further capabilities include climate risk assessment and ongoing sector and thematic ESG research.

“Investors want transparent, cross comparable ESG ratings that look beyond labelling or targets to assess ESG fundamentals,” said Andrew Steel, managing director and global group head of sustainable finance, in the release. “Sustainable Fitch will provide investors with best-in-class ESG Ratings, supported by data and analysis backed by the key tenets of consistency, comparability, coverage and granularity.”

Other recent initiatives attempting to help investors assess ESG investments include the CFA Institute’s draft voluntary ESG disclosure standards for funds, released in May.