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 rating criteria 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 rating criteria stand in stark contrast to criteria from external ESG raters. As ESG raters often mention, their methodologies and criteria focus entirely on data and focus (so far) almost entirely on risk (not opportunity). As a result, ESG raters focus to a very limited degree on corporate governance and strategy — since those business activities and processes often do not lend themselves to hard data and metrics. are especially weak on the “G” in ESG.

Background and History

The ESG Navigator rating criteria have been developed and 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.

2020 KSI Edits

Every 12-18 months, we do a comprehensive review and update of the ESG Navigator rating criteria to ensure they are up-to-date. We aim to continually sharpen and simplify – yet retain the integrity for year-over-year comparisons. We invite 20-30 active ESG Navigator practitioners to provide input.

  • In Q4-2019, we did a major overhaul of the KSIs – soliciting input from many of you. We received terrific input and were able to eliminate 18 KSIs by combining two past ones into one current (2020) one.
  • The total number of KSIs was reduced from 147 to 129.
  • We also made significant edits to the Stage 1 – Stage 4 descriptors – adding additional content to sharpen the rating criteria.

PDF Download – Current KSI Listing