The global pandemic has elevated the importance of social responsibility. From governments to individuals, policy to personal choices, every decision has implications for others. This rings true for companies too. When it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, Truvalue Labs has long deliberately avoided the approach of relying on self-reported data to evaluate companies. Instead, we assess how society at large perceives and is impacted by corporate behavior by mining over 100,000 data sources according to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) framework.
Today, Truvalue Labs introduced the Coronavirus ESG Monitor, an interactive dashboard surfacing key trends and insights on ESG implications of the pandemic. We are sharing our new COVID-19 Signals and dedicated dashboard for free to the public. Truvalue Labs COVID-19 Signals focus on five key areas: social impact, response, labor, supply chain, and economy. In addition, the broader COVID-19 Signal we’ve created intersects with each of the 26 ESG topics as defined by SASB.
Free Public Dataset
Within the dashboard you can request to download a dataset that provides key metrics that detail the rising prevalence of COVID-19 across sectors, industries, and regions. This data also shows the rising importance of COVID-19 at a company level, including information that distills the sentiment of stakeholders on company actions and responses to the crisis.
All sentiment scores in the files will be scored on a scale of -20 (most negative) to 20 (most positive) with 0 being the neutral point. The data will also include detail on the aforementioned COVID-19 signals. The COVID-19 time series begins on 1/1/20, and more information is available in the Data Dictionary in the download to help you understand the dataset.
Coronavirus ESG Monitor Highlights
The Coronavirus ESG Monitor is designed to surface trends and insights where the COVID-19 pandemic intersects with environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues. All of our data charts are available to download for your own research or dashboards.
Below you’ll see the SASB categories of Employee Health & Safety, Labor Practices, Access and Affordability, Product Quality and Safety, and Supply Chain Management as emerging material for all companies during the COVID-19 crisis.
While the importance of various issues will continue to evolve over time, the identification of these five key SASB categories underscore where investors should assess company performance through the global pandemic. Note that Employee Health and Safety and Labor Practices represent a disproportionate share of volume (55%). The abrupt shift in focus on these categories has proved to be an extraordinary example of Dynamic Materiality with profound implications.
We can see from the data that stakeholders are focused on the actions companies have taken to ensure the health and safety of employees. In addition, there is a focus on companies’ decisions to keep workers on the payroll, furlough, or to announce layoffs. Investors, once adjusting or normalizing for balance sheet leverage and cash flow, will scrutinize the management choices against peer companies.
The way corporations navigate these two issues will leave lasting impressions on customers, employees, and investors. Leaders on these issues will be associated with quality management teams focused on long-term value creation for all stakeholders.
Making Sense of the Data
Here are a few hints on how to use and interpret the data to identify insights, trends and inflection points. The data set we offer will provide a unique view of stakeholder perception on company behavior, which at the firm-level helps assess commitment to social outcomes and quality of management.
At a macro level, the relative volume of information relating to COVID-19 issues vs. other ESG topics helps contextualize the magnitude in which the focus of stakeholders has changed. For example, the ratio of COVID-19 to non-COVID-19 content on Chinese-domiciled companies peaked one week before new cases peaked in China.
The market focus has shifted tremendously. Understanding how and when it reverts to normalcy and the underlying issues that linger may help provide perspective to investors, business consultants, management teams, and others as the crisis evolves.
We will continue to add highlights of the data trends within our Coronavirus ESG Monitor. We will also send out a weekly Coronavirus ESG update featuring key insights and noteworthy trends. Subscribe here. To read next week’s April 17th post in the “ESG During Coronavirus” series, click here.
Watch the brief recorded webinar to dive deeper into important highlights from the Coronavirus ESG Monitor.