April 16, 2021

According to ISS Carbon – Morningstar’s carbon emissions scores rank on the lower end of benchmarked peers – what is being done to address these issues?

In 2020, we partnered with the UK-based Greenstone to calculate our global carbon footprint, releasing information on our emissions in our 2020 corporate sustainability report (published April 1, 2021). 

Our report released data pertaining to Morningstar’s scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and total GHG emissions per output scaling factor. This data is consistent with external standards for reporting, such as the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) framework. In this area, data reported was consistent with GRI: 305-1, 305-2, 305-3, and 305-4, which relate to GHG emissions as a direct or indirect result of a company’s consumption of energy and resource efficiency relative to economic value. Our report also examined certain waste programs, such as a partnership for recycling technology; our global conference footprint; and our work to enhance and update environmental policies.

This data, important to investors, was summarized in this 2020 report for the first time. ISS states that “A company’s failure to disclose, or lack of transparency, regarding these matters will impact a company’s rating negatively.” Prior to the publication of our enterprise sustainability report, Morningstar did not make our global emissions public. Consistent with their policy, ISS ratings in the areas of B.1 Environmental Management and B.3. Eco-Efficiency characterized our transparency as “very low;” our ratings were similarly below D. We expect that our release of this information will help our rating in the future.

The establishment of a measurement process and platform that encompasses the total Morningstar enterprise—including Pitchbook, DBRS, and Sustainalytics—lays the foundation for enhanced efficiency and additional operational improvements. Our plan is to be a leader with respect to transparency in this area, and we believe that Morningstar is uniquely positioned. We plan to draw on our own research and tools to examine our impact across the supply chain; we’re work closely with the ESG Assessment Platform team at Sustainalytics to analyze and report on our global supply chain and partnerships. Additionally, we plan to articulate public reduction targets; where appropriate, we will align with international standards and guidance with respect to global reduction frameworks.

A final thought on Morningstar’s position relative to the industry: Our peers in the financial data, research, and services sector use both internal and external measurement platforms and methodologies; comparisons across companies can be therefore be difficult and of limited use. However, Greenstone data collected on 2019 and 2020 data indicated that our emissions are well in line with global peers of similar businesses; indeed, when scaled for revenue and employees, the current data indicates that Morningstar is well-positioned to contribute to charting an ambitious path to efficiency in the future. We intend to do just that.

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