Investigating consistency of judgement across sustainability analysts
Journal article, 2011

We compare seven major European and North American sustainability analyst organizations on how they rank-order the same set of companies with regards to environmental performance. We also compare the analyst organizations’ environmental rating schemes with regards to which evaluation criteria they include. Two industries are investigated: automobile and paper/forestry. Although there is fairly broad consensus on which automobile companies have the worst environmental performance, there is considerable disagreement about best-performers. The pattern is less clear for paper/forestry companies. With some notable exceptions, and for both industries, all rating schemes contain evaluation criteria targeting those aspects of company performance associated, according to life-cycle assessments, with the largest potential environmental impact. There are, however, significant divergences as to how many, and which, criteria of medium to low relevance are applied. Sustainability analyst organizations should make explicit to investors and evaluated companies on which theoretical and empirical grounds environmental evaluation criteria are selected.

best practices

mutual funds

performance evaluation

socially responsible investing


Ted Martin Hedesström

University of Gothenburg

Ulrika Lundqvist

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Anders Biel

University of Gothenburg

Sustainable Development

0968-0802 (ISSN) 1099-1719 (eISSN)

Vol. 19 2 119-134

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