RobecoSAM finds correlation between Covid-19 response and countries' ESG scores

On the 07/23/20 at 4:15PM


Adrien Paredes-Vanheule

Swiss asset manager RobecoSAM has published its biannual Country ESG Ranking report that tracks the environmental, social and governance (ESG) features of 150 nations.

Once again, Scandinavian countries topped the rankings of RobecoSAM's country ESG report with Sweden sitting in the first place and scoring 8.98 over 10. Norway (the previous leader at the end of 2019), Finland, Denmark and Iceland followed. Through its country assessements, the manager found out a relationship between the coronavirus outbreak and national ESG profiles.

“The hardest hit countries tend to have poorer ESG profiles, while countries with strong ESG scores had lower reported case counts. The comparison is focused on 40 of the most important economies within the investable universe. While the correlation between ESG scores and the Covid-19 crisis performance holds in general, there are also noticeable outliers including the US, UK, and to a lesser extent Sweden,” argued RobecoSAM, which termed Sweden 'relaxed' response to the pandemic 'surprising'. “The outbreak and spread of the coronavirus pandemic demonstrate how swiftly a regional risk can accelerate into a global crisis with severe humanitarian, economic, financial and political consequences,” observed Max Schieler, RobecoSAM’s senior sustainable investment country analyst and author of the report. He also pinpointed that the majority of countries that have coped the best with the crisis are democracies.

Europe remains in good position overall in RobecoSAM's rankings given that the continent is represented by 11 of the 14 countries scoring 8.0 or higher ESG. Greece, Italy and Spain however were rated between 6.0 and 7.0. The Zurich-based investment manager said Italy is still trying to catch up with its neighbours. “While it is true that Italy has attempted several reforms post-2008 crisis, most of these efforts proved to be half-hearted. This is also evident from Italy’s ESG performance which has remained stagnant for the last decade. Ranked 38th overall, the country is lagging considerably behind its industrialised peers, whose ESG scores average 7.96 vs Italy’s 6.56,” RobecoSAM underlined.

Read RobecoSAM's report here.

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