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Sustainable Investing Glossary

Country Sustainability Ranking

The Country Sustainability Ranking is a proprietary research model developed jointly by RobecoSAM and Robeco to measure the ESG credentials of 150 countries twice a year.

The Country Sustainability Ranking is a proprietary research model developed jointly by RobecoSAM and Robeco to measure the ESG credentials of 150 countries twice a year. The rationale behind it is that country sustainability analysis offers an alternative and comprehensive view into an economy’s underlying change drivers, and provides investors with insights into a country’s strengths and weaknesses on a broad selection of ESG indicators.

It primarily focuses on mid- to long-term factors that have an indirect (or sometimes even direct) impact on a government’s ability to implement reasonable economic policies to achieve a sustainable economic performance and generate sufficient revenues to service its debt. These factors are usually insufficiently considered in traditional sovereign debt assessments by the rating agencies. One of the best uses for the CSR is trying to find information that is not covered in and hence complementary to a country’s standard sovereign credit rating. If a country ranks higher in the CSR than its credit rating would suggest, it may present a buying opportunity for that nation’s sovereign bonds. 

In making its assessment, the CSR gives precise scores on a wide range of ESG metrics, from environmental aspects, human capital and gender equality, to standards of living, domestic stability and external threats. The December 2019 edition of the CSR more than doubled its scope, extending the number of countries reviewed from 65 to 150. It now looks at 23 developed economies and 127 emerging markets, making it the largest survey produced since it began in 2012.

Country Sustainability Ranking

Source: RobecoSAM
The CSR gives an ESG score for countries based on 40 indicators, grouped in 15 criteria, with a 20% weighting given to environmental factors, 30% to social issues, and 50% to governance. The scores on these factors are based on over 200 underlying data series from all over the world. Sources include international organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, the United Nations or the OECD, as well as a variety of reputable , universities, private institutions and NGOs.

Country ESG criteria and weighs

Source: RobecoSAM
See also: Environmental Impact Monitoring Tool, Smart ESG score
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