ICE’s data platform is just the tip of the iceberg

June 01, 2021

As ESG investing moves from niche to norm, it’s estimated that over the next two decades, $20 trillion of asset growth will occur in ESG funds (equal to the size of the S&P 500) and granular data is fundamental to this shift.

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, has expanded its ESG reference data platform to include more granular data. ICE’s ESG data service now includes coverage of companies in key indices, including the ICE® US 1000 Index, which measures the performance of some of the largest capitalised companies in the world. The service offers detailed data points, such as GHG emissions, board diversity metrics, and nearly 400 other key indicators sourced from companies and publicly available sources. ICE also stated that its research team continues to update, enhance and expand this service, and plans to launch coverage for additional companies and geographies later this year.

The provision of ESG granular data aligns with a broader movement of enabling actionable comparisons across companies and sectors. Crucially for ICE, it will assist investors in better understanding the ESG risks and opportunities across a broad mix of global corporations. As investor demand for more transparency and disclosure grows, they must have access to accurate and timely data.

While this move is needed, we should also see it as an opportunity to focus on the data itself. Along with the service announcement, ICE shared data showing that only 48% of US large-cap companies have reported their scope 1 emissions, and of the ICE US 1000 index, women make up only 27% of board directors. Despite ICE’s data evidently exposing where progress can be made, the announcement somewhat lacked depth. There was both an absence of support for investors looking to utilise this data, and no obvious engagement strategy for the companies. Making granular data public is a much-needed first step. Investors using this data through their engagement strategies is the next to generate the right impact.

Author: Rosanna Greenwood