Arabesque launches big data tool S-Ray for corporate sustainability information

Source: Arabesque, 12 April 2017

A new tool that allows investors, regulators, NGOs, corporates, and consumers to monitor the sustainability of over 4,000 of the world’s largest corporations has been launched. Arabesque S-Ray™ is designed to streamline vast amounts of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information into one easy-to-use, smart application.

Its unbiased diagnostic technology processes countless data points to evaluate companies in three ways:

  • GC Score – a normative assessment of each company based on the core principles of the United Nations Global Compact.
  • ESG Score – a sector specific analysis of each corporation’s performance on financially material ESG issues.
  • Preferences Filter – a search tool that allows anyone to check the business involvements of companies against their personal values.

The technology has been developed by Arabesque, an ESG Quant asset manager that uses self-learning quantitative models and big data to assess the performance and sustainability of companies.

Speaking on the launch of Arabesque S-Ray™, Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, said: “The power of transparency will help to create more sustainable corporate practices.”

Through machine learning and big data, Arabesque S-Ray™ systematically combines over 200 ESG metrics with news signals from over 50,000 sources across 15 languages.

It is the first tool of its kind to rate companies on the normative principles of the United Nations Global Compact: Human Rights, Labour Rights, the Environment, and Anti-Corruption (GC Score). Additionally, Arabesque S-Ray™ provides an industry-specific assessment of companies’ performance on financially material sustainability criteria (ESG Score).
Both scores are combined with a preferences filter that allows anyone to better understand each company’s business involvements, and how those activities align with personal values.
Omar Selim, CEO of Arabesque, said: “With its name inspired by the impact of the X-Ray on medicine, Arabesque S-Ray™ enables anyone to look beneath a company’s surface. Our objective is to take sustainability into the mainstream by making it available in a practical and cost efficient way. S-Ray’s unbiased algorithms harness the power of artificial intelligence, processing big data to produce a daily snapshot of a corporation’s sustainability.”

Confirmed to be piloted as an integrity measure by the United Nations Global Compact later this year, Arabesque S-Ray™ is available to the general public for free with a three-month data delay. A paid subscription service for corporations, investors, and investment professionals has also been developed, with access to daily information, an in-depth dashboard on each company, and download functions.

John Ruggie, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, said of today’s launch: “Arabesque S-Ray™ is a unique initiative unleashing big data to provide rankings of the sustainability practices of the largest listed companies in the world. And not a moment too soon, given the precarious state of globalization today. May it move markets!”

Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International, added: “The public availability of companies’ sustainability data is crucial for the larger goal of good corporate governance and integrity.”