1. In order to rate a subcategory, we require:
a. A minimum number of sources (it ranges depending upon a variety of circumstances between two and six sources) for each subcategory. So, to give a company a rating for “Energy & Climate Change” we might need data from both CDP and Climate Counts.
b. A minimum amount of data. We measure this in terms of “data weight.” Some sources tend to predict and follow the consensus of our other sources—others diverge often from consensus. Our software gives the sources that are good predictors a higher weight than those who are not. Some sources invest a lot of resources in their work and/or generate original data. Our software gives these sources additional weight compared to those who merely summarize work done by others. Some sources offer one rating that covers a wide range of sustainability issues while others have many detailed ratings elements. Those with more elements get more weight.
c. If there is not good agreement between the data sources or if the resulting score is extreme (e.g., 0 or 100), we may exclude the result. (Whether or not we do depends on the quality of the sources, number of sources, etc.)
2. To score a category, we must have a rating for at least one subcategory. We may suppress a category rating if we do not have enough weight in the subcategories underneath it to produce a reliable score.
3. To offer an overall rating, we must have:
a. Ratings for all four categories.
b. Ratings for at least five subcategories (so at least one category must have two subcategories in it).
c. Enough total weight.
d. Enough total sources.
e. If the weight is light or the number of sources is low, a reasonable score (we trim outliers that do not have enough support to justify).
The above process is mechanical—our software handles the details of both converting the data we receive into a 0 to 100 score, mapping it into our subcategories and special issues, normalizing the data across all of the companies we follow, and then processing the data to produce ratings. We have data on approximately 150,000 companies. We publish information on more than loading... companies and we issue ratings on loading... companies. We offer full ratings on loading... of these. Each month, we conduct a separate “human review” of our ratings to make sure that we have not missed an obvious problem or outlier. At present, less than 150 companies are receiving “manual” adjustments.
We are actively working to increase the scope of our coverage. We currently publish data about on about 10,000 private companies, government agencies, and NFPs.