CSRHub Blog » Latest Articles
Oct 27, 2021 Bahar Gidwani

NGOs Get Their Say On ESG Performance

We recently added a new source into CSRHub’s consensus ESG ratings. It is SIGWATCH, a UK-based group that observes how environmental, human and animal rights, and consumer activists are driving current and emerging issues and their impact on individual corporations and brands. This source touches more than 4,000 of the companies CSRHub tracks.

SIGWATCH examines campaigning materials, claims and reports from thousands of NGOs in more than 100 countries. It looks for evidence that an NGO approves or disapproves of the activities of an entity, gauges the strength of the NGOs response, ties the interaction to one of more than one hundred different topics, examines how prominent the interaction is, and looks for evidence that the entity and the NGO agreed to take steps together to address the underlying issue. As you can imagine, the result is a huge database of information that changes almost daily.

To make it possible to integrate this signal into CSRHub, SIGWATCH aggregated its data over a four year period. As it combined older data with newer information, progressively downweighted the effect of the older data on a “half life” basis.

It categorizes the outputs into “levels”—the result was a score between -2 (NGO was very unhappy with the entity) and +2 (NGO was very happy). As you might expect, the distribution of levels leans negative—NGOs tend to be critical of the behavior of businesses.


The SIGWATCH sentiment score seems to be connected with CSRHub Environment category ratings. The low correlation shows that SIGWATCH’s signal is independent from the view of our other sources. The high F score (>50) says that there is a connection—that companies that are thought to be better on Environment issues have better SIGWATCH sentiment scores. A close correlation would not be expected however since SIGWATCH focuses on transient controversy and praise events, whereas most other CSRHub sources are driven by company self-reported information or human analysis.

Sentiment and Environment

We could not find a way to integrate SIGWATCH’s topic list. There were too many topics and the mapping between them and CSRHub’s schema was complex. We may try in the future to “reverse” our process. CSRHub covers many NGOs. We’d like to have more ratings input on how active an NGO is and on which topics it cares about.

SIGWATCH also provides CSRHub measures of the prominence of an entity’s interaction and if a partnership had been formed between the entity and NGOs. These signals correlated well with some aspects of CSRHub’s ratings and less with others. For instance, evidence that a company partnered with an NGO (something that only occurred in about 9% of the sample) was connected to better Governance scores. In contrast, while the prominence of the events measured by SIGWATCH had a small relationship with Governance, the relationship was much stronger with CSRHub’s Community score. This makes sense, since communities respond strongly to reports from NGOs, while Boards and management teams may sometimes ignore them.


Bahar GidwaniBahar Gidwani is CTO and Co-founder of CSRHub.  He has built and run large technology-based businesses for many years. Bahar holds a CFA, worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to a number of major companies and currently serves on the board of several software and Web companies. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

About CSRHub

CSRHub offers one of the world’s broadest and most consistent set of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings, covering 45,000 companies. Its Big Data algorithm combines millions of data points on ESG performance from hundreds of sources, including leading ESG analyst raters, to produce consensus scores on all aspects of corporate social responsibility and sustainability. CSRHub ratings can be used to drive corporate, investor and consumer decisions. For more information, visit www.CSRHub.com. CSRHub is a B Corporation.

Published by Bahar Gidwani October 27, 2021