London-based Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency, has issued a new scoring system that shows how environmental, social and governance factors impact individual credit rating decisions, Fitch Ratings announced Monday.

The new ESG relevance scores, which are produced by Fitch's analytical teams, show how ESG factors affect credit ratings decisions. Advisors and investors can access the data at and use the information to help in carrying out due diligence on potential investments.

The information is not a rating, Andrew Steel, managing director and global head of sustainable finance for Fitch Ratings, said in an email. The data “are an integrated part of our overall credit analysis and transparently display where ESG risk elements have influenced credit decisions for individual entities.

“In this respect the data are currently unique in that they provide investors and market participants with an ability to see, on a sector-by-sector basis, at an individual company level, the way in which our analysts have incorporated risks surrounding ESG into the analysis of the overall credit rating,” Steel said.

Fitch is starting with 1,500 non-financial corporations that cross sector lines from manufacturing to utilities. This will be followed by scores for banks, non-bank financial institutions, insurance, public finance, global infrastructure and structured finance.

Fitch's ESG approach fills a market gap by publicly disclosing how an ESG issue directly affects a company's current credit rating, Fitch said. The firm initially is making all of its ESG relevance scores available in the public domain, and will then maintain and publish the scores on an ongoing basis as a part of its credit research.

Fitch views these scores as a substantial step forward in enhancing transparency for investors, and for the broader discussion around ESG and credit, Fitch said.

“The scores do not make value judgments on whether an entity engages in good or bad ESG practices, but draw out which environmental, social and governance risk elements are influencing the credit rating decision,” Steel said.

Fitch recently created a Global Sustainable Finance group to review how ESG factors are incorporated into the credit rating process and to increase the level of transparency around ESG analysis, Fitch said.