ATNF retained Sustainalytics, a leading provider of sustainability research & analysis, as the research consultant for the 2016 Global Index. Sustainalytics used the ATNI Global Index methodology to conduct research on each company to assess its performance and was responsible for gathering company information, calculating the scores and rankings, and drafting company scorecards for the Global Index.
The ATNI research process involved the following steps:
- Identification and review of relevant publicly available documents: Sustainalytics began with desk-based research for the Global Index. Analysts pre-populated the data-gathering platform with all information available in the public domain relevant to the Global Index methodology in order to reduce the burden for the companies. The documents reviewed included annual reports, corporate social responsibility/sustainability reports, websites, press releases and any publicly available policy statements. All documents publicly available before the end of the company research phase were analyzed.
- Companies´ contribution to the platform: Once Sustainalytics had completed the review of publicly available information and inputted initial data to the online platform, companies were asked to provide additional information to fill in any gaps. Companies were given four weeks to add data to the platform. Some companies provided information on a confidential basis; such information was used to help calculate scores but is not directly quoted or referenced in the report without permission. Of the 22 companies assessed by the Global Index, five did not provide information during the company contribution stage and have been assessed solely on publicly available information.
- Verification of company facts: Sustainalytics then reviewed the information submitted and liaised with companies where more information or clarification was needed. Companies were given a week to provide any additional information or clarifications. Sustainalytics then drafted the company scorecards. Companies were given an opportunity to review both the draft scorecards and the best practices referred to in the Global Index to confirm the factual information. Shortly before publication of the 2016 Global Index, companies received their final scorecards under embargo and were advised of plans for the launch.
- Data analysis and conduct quality assurance: Sustainalytics used the data collected on companies to score them using the ATNI assessment methodology. A robust quality assurance process was applied to ensure accurate data collection, interpretation and scoring. The quality assurance process involved crosschecking of information by multiple analysts to ensure consistency for company scoring followed by a final crosscheck by the Sustainalytics research project manager.