Rating Criteria


“ESG Navigator is not another one-size-fit-all rating scheme. The Navigator organizes current and emerging ESG topics in one place. It assists practitioners in assessing the relevance of these topics to their business and, with context, examines the organization’s maturity in each area and identifies improvement opportunities.”

Edan Dionne – Vice President – IBM


We refer to the ESG Navigator scoring methodology as Key Sustainability Indicators (KSIs). The ESG Navigator KSIs define actions, processes, structures and programs companies have created or aim to create to capture business value from ESG.

The ESG Navigator methodology stands in stark contrast to criteria from external ESG raters. ESG raters focus almost entirely on data and (to date) almost entirely on risk (not opportunity). As a result, ESG raters are especially weak on the “G” in ESG, with a very limited focus on corporate governance and strategy.

Background and History

The ESG Navigator methodology has been fine-tuned over 20+ years. Since 1997, we have “cast a wide net” to capture leading industry ESG practices and ambitions globally. The criteria are shaped not only by where leading companies are today – but also by where leaders aim to be in the future. Every 12-18 months, we update the ESG Navigator rating criteria – to continually sharpen and simplify – yet retain the integrity for year-over-year comparisons.

2021 KSI Edits

In December 2020, we began a comprehensive review of the KSIs that involved:

  • Making changes our team tracks during the year, including input from you – ESG Navigator users.
  • Inviting 20-30 active ESG Navigator practitioners (including all Basic and Advanced Members) to provide input.
  • Soliciting comments from the ESG research team at The Conference Board

We finished our review and  finalized the new 2021 KSIs on March 24, 2021. The changes have been made to this website. When you go to rate or update your ratings you will see the new KSIs. All existing company data (KSI scores) have migrated to the new 2021 KSIs. That means your scores and analytics all have the new KSI listing.

In cases where we combined two 2020 KSIs into one 2021 KSI, we use these rules to migrate your company scores:

  1. We take the average of the (typically two) scores from 2020 KSIs if that rounds to a whole or half stage (a KSI score of 2 and a KSI score of 3 round to the new score of 2.5). If the scores do not round to a whole or half stage, we take the higher of the two (scores of 1.5 and 2.0 result in new KSI score of 2.0).
  2. If either (any) of the KSIs being combined was flagged as Highly Relevant, the new KSI is also flagged as Highly Relevant.

Current 2021 KSIs – PDF Download

  • Rating Criteria may be available upon request if you are not currently a registered user; please email Gib (gib@hedstromassociates.com) if you want to learn more.

Changes from 2020 to 2021 KSIs – PDF Download

  • Rating Criteria may be available upon request if you are not currently a registered user; please email Gib (gib@hedstromassociates.com) if you want to learn more.