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Sovereign ESG Data Methodology

The World Bank’s ESG Data Framework provides information on 17 key sustainability themes spanning environmental, social, and governance categories:

Environment Social Governance
Emissions & pollution Education & skills Human rights
Natural capital endowment & management Employment Government effectiveness
Energy use & security Demography Stability & rule of law
Environment/climate risk & resilience Poverty & inequality Economic environment
Food security Health & nutrition Gender
  Access to services Innovation

The ESG Data Framework incorporates data relevant to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Framework organizes data into themes the World Bank believes are crucial for financial sector representatives to consider when assessing the contribution of investments or policies to sustainable development. The initial set of indicators has been based on:

  • Survey of World Bank data currently used by investors
  • Indicators relevant to World Bank’s own policy analysis
  • Other key indicators identified through analysis of World Bank expert teams
  • Availability, coverage, timeliness of data

In the first version of the Portal, countries are not scored or ranked; however there is the possibility for this application in a later version of the Portal. The first version provides ESG data to the financial sector and to governments, and lets users perform their own analyses.

ThemeRelevance
Environment This category encompasses key themes, which provide a picture of the sustainability of a country’s economic performance given its natural resource endowment, management and supplementation and its risk or resilience to climate change and other natural hazards. This category pays particular attention to the internalization of environmental externalities created by economic activity. This category also accounts for sustainable energy access and food security, crucial factors for stable long-term economic growth.
Social This category encompasses key themes, which provide a picture of the sustainability of a country’s economic performance given its efficacy meeting the basic needs of its population and reducing poverty, management of social and equity issues and investment in human capital and productivity. This category also includes demographic criteria, pertinent to stable long-term economic growth.
Governance This category encompasses key themes, which provide a picture of the sustainability of a country’s economic performance given its institutional capacity to support long-term stability, growth and poverty reduction. This category also accounts for the strength of a country’s political, financial and legal systems and capacity to address environmental and social risks.

Next Steps

The Sovereign ESG Data Framework represents a first step in the effort to provide improved data and resources for ESG analysis and decision making. As the platform evolves and grows, the data in the ESG Data Framework will be expanded to include new data that the WBG views as crucial to increase financial flows to activities aligned with sustainable development. Such data will include information the World Bank has collected on natural capital and human capital, leveraging The Changing Wealth of Nations work. Additional data from geospatial technology, artificial intelligence and other developing sources of proxy indicators will be added over time.

Forward-looking data (particularly on climate mitigation, adaptation, and impacts) is becoming increasingly important for governments and investors, and will be added to the Portal. Metadata, too, will be added to the Portal, to explain the relevance of various indicators to a country’s sustainability performance and the materiality of time lags.