Nuveen works with ESG research providers to broaden the scope and improve the quality of fixed income ESG research and data. We have engaged several providers to help expand issuer disclosure of ESG data, offer an investor perspective on potential new fixed income research products and help better integrate ESG issues into traditional credit ratings, including providing feedback from an ESG and investment perspective to a major credit ratings agency as they seek to expand their ESG offering.
Muncipals: In 2019, we launched a proprietary data-driven municipal ESG scoring methodology, aligned with the UN SDGs, to asses ESG outcomes and performance across eight municipal sectors. The models leverage sector specific datasets from publicly available sources such as: U.S. Census data for cities, counties and states, Medicare data for hospitals and National Center for Education Statistics data for higher education and school districts. The ESG scores and data are embedded within the municipal credit research and trading platforms for automation and integration into investment processes.
Private companies: For investment specialists investing in private companies, investment teams use proprietary ESG questionnaires as part of their ESG due diligence and credit underwriting processes. These questionnaires leverage industry accepted materiality frameworks as well as ESG data for public companies as comp sets. In addition, where available, third party materials (such as information from the equity sponsor, underwriter or a consulting firm) are used to bolster the due diligence and credit underwriting process. The Responsible Investing team in collaboration with the investment team regularly reviews proprietary frameworks and make updates where appropriate.
ESG-branded strategies apply explicit ESG criteria. For taxable fixed income ESG strategies, issuer- level and country-level ESG ratings and research are sourced from third party ESG research providers and for tax-exempt municipal ESG strategies, the proprietary ESG scores are leveraged to identify leaders within municipal sector.