Q 01. Provide a brief overview of SustainoMetric and its research offerings?

Founded in 2017, SustainoMetric provides sustainability research services. Our research offerings are customised to our clients’ specific needs. Our analysts work as an extension of our clients’ own teams and provide high-quality research support. We focus on three types of clients namely investors and index providers, ESG/thematic rating agencies/service providers, and companies.

Our key research offerings include:

  • Collection and analysis of ESG-related data;
  • Creation of customized excel-based templates and dashboards for end-user consumption;
  • Writing thematic reports/thought pieces;
  • News and controversy monitoring;
  • Positive and negative screening;
  • Benchmarking reports;
  • Responsible investment methodology development and consulting;
  • Advisory support for developing an online portal for ESG assessments;
  • ESG assessment training and capacity building;
  • Client reporting support; and
  • Automating routine, process-driven tasks.
Q 02. How is Sustainometric different from other ESG research service providers in the market?

Sustainometric’s solutions are 100% customised to client requirements. We do not apply any proprietary ESG research methodology. We follow client-specific requirements to support their in-house ESG research. We work as an extension of our clients’ internal teams, allowing them to focus on higher-impact activities while we take on the heavy lifting. Our complete focus on sustainability-related research also differentiates us from other bigger diversified players. Our geographical base provides us an edge of being close to the client and at the same time being cost-efficient due to our operations in India.

Q 03. What are the benefits of working with Sustainometric?

Sustainometric is an independent provider of ESG research services. Our solutions are 100% customised to meet diverse/evolving requirements of our clients. We do not apply any proprietary research methodology, neither do we have any off-the-shelf products. We follow client-specific requirements to support their in-house sustainability research teams. We work as an extension of our clients’ internal teams, allowing them to focus on higher impact activities (such as product development, client engagement, etc.) while we take on the heavy lifting.

By collaborating with us, our clients benefit from:

  • Leverage our senior management’s experience in working with and establishing various platforms, ESG methodologies, and processes for some of the most respected names in the ESG space.
  • Access to talent with a deep understanding of sustainability issues/concepts across diverse sectors and themes;
  • Access to research with high freshness and relevance quotient;
  • Ability to scale up the team at short notice;
  • Reduced research costs are driven by our low operational costs and high focus on automation;
  • Increase coverage;
  • Seamless coordination between teams through robust governance processes.
Q 04. Can you explain Sustainometric’s recruitment and training process?

Sustainometric has a diverse team with strong capabilities in ESG research, data collection, consulting, and project management.

Recruitment Process

Sustainometric’s team has extensive experience in setting and ramping-up of 3 ‒ 20 members teams for clients within periods of 1‒3 months. Team formation entails identification of candidates followed by training on specific requirements. Hiring is based on the client’s requirements, skills needed, and complexity of research. We typically hire MBAs, engineers, and graduates from tier 1/2/3 colleges and business schools. In some cases, candidates have educational backgrounds relevant to ESG, such as on environmental sciences and responsible investments.

Onboarding and Training Process

The onboarding process typically includes 3-4 weeks of extensive training. The training program is a combination of classroom training & self-learning modules which includes working on sample assignments. The training program is aimed at covering the following aspects:

  • Introduction to sustainability;
  • Understanding general and industry-specific ESG indicators; and
  • Identification of data sources and review of best practices.

The sample assignments submitted by analysts are thoroughly checked for errors, and feedback is provided to each analyst. Analysts are staffed on live projects only after they demonstrate the ability to deliver quality output.

Ongoing training: We train our analysts on an ongoing basis, through weekly updates and knowledge sharing in line with guidance/methodology changes or market requirements. Best practices are shared among team members through a rigorous internal communication process.

Q 05. Explain your quality control and monitoring process.

Sustainometric has established the following quality control processes to ensure high-quality output:

  • Initial Quality Check (QC): Perform a quality check on 100% of the data points researched on the first 5% companies, for new analysts/junior analysts. This includes checking for gaps/errors in data collection and information interpretation, inconsistency in the application of the guidance and correct referencing of documents/page numbers. The intensity of the quality check is reduced only after the quality of the output reaches an acceptable level.
  • On-going QC: Regular quality checks are conducted on approximately 15% indicators per company (identified after discussion with the client) for judgment and misinterpretation of guidelines.
    Systematic QC: QC is conducted across all assessments to identify logical inconsistencies such as a mismatch in analyst comments and assessment values, and outliers in quantitative data indicators.
  • Y-o-Y Comparison: The current year assessment result/score is compared with the previous year’s result/score to check for any deviations, with the aim to identify any data gaps/interpretation errors for indicators where there has been no change in guidance/applicability/question structure. For example, any deviation in the assessment value of a sub-indicator (particularly in cases where a sub-indicator was marked ‘Yes’ last year and ‘No’ this year) would be checked for accuracy.

Besides the above processes, we are open to creating and customizing any type of QC report/analysis that might be of interest to clients. The quality-related KPIs can also be a part of service-level agreements (SLAs) with our clients.

Sustainometric can also create a guidance manual for all the indicators/processes associated with the clients’ ESG methodology. This manual may list various aspects, such as indicator rationale, information sources, keywords to search, guidance on how to assess indicators and best practice examples. The guidance can be regularly updated to cover special cases that analysts may come across while working on assessments. Sustainometric and clients can revisit such manuals to make adjustments, as required.