InfluenceMap refers to the UN's Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy as a guide for what constitutes “lobbying”. This can include advertising, social media, public relations, sponsoring research, direct contact with regulators and elected officials, funding of campaigns and political parties and participation in policy advisory committees, as well as the use of industry associations. Details of our analysis of corporate influence in climate change policy can be found here.
In certain regions, including Europe and the US, the term "lobbying" is used interchangeably to describe policy engagement. However, it does not have the same meaning across all countries. For example, in South Korea, ‘third-party lobbying activity’, referring to lobbying conducted by a paid lobbyist on behalf of a third party, is banned by law.
We stress here that our assessment and scoring platform does not claim to measure actual corporate influence over the climate change policy process. Such an assertion would need to involve vastly more cause-and-effect substantiation, which we do not attempt. Rather we assess and score corporations on a variety of activities that respected authorities (e.g. the UN's Caring for Climate) have asserted are highly likely to influence policy. On this site when we use the term "corporate influence" it should be regarded in this context.
InfluenceMap’s system considers existing, evolving, and likely future climate-related policy measures proposed by mandated bodies. “Mandated bodies” are defined here as various levels of government or government-authorized bodies responsible for or supporting efforts to implement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in their regions. InfluenceMap’s system also captures high-level corporate communications that influence the broader public narrative concerning these policies (e.g. concerning the consensus on climate science or the role of different low-carbon technologies in the energy mix).
To measure and score corporate influence on climate change policy, each entity’s engagement activities are assessed using publicly accessible data sources to gather reliable and representative evidence. These data sources include organizational website disclosures and social media channels, top management statements, financial disclosures and investor communications, regulatory consultation comments, and reliable media reporting.
This research process can collect hundreds of items of evidence pertaining to an entity’s engagement with climate-related policy. Each item of evidence is scored on a 5-point scale, from -2 (highly oppositional) to +2 (highly supportive). This evidence is analyzed against Paris Agreement-aligned Governmental Policy and Science-Based Policy benchmarks (drawn from IPCC analysis of achieving 1.5°C aligned emission reductions), to provide a robust assessment of whether an entity’s climate policy engagement activities are aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goals.
Metrics describing each entity’s overall climate policy engagement - direct and indirect - are produced by InfluenceMap’s proprietary platform, with weightings to adjust for factors such as time. For example, historical evidence is weighted less than more recent evidence in the final scores. InfluenceMap's system is updated continuously as new information becomes available. The results are freely available and in the public domain, along with all the primary evidence used in the analysis.
Our analysis and scoring is focused on an organization's comments, interactions and influence on policy and legislation. We do not consider internal strategy, activities and performance of a company on climate change related issues, such as CO2 emissions, use of various energy forms and the company's business activities if these have no direct relevance to policy and legislation forming. There are numerous other research streams (e.g. Carbon Tracker, CDP) dealing with corporate performance on climate and we do not wish to widen our remit where adequate coverage exists.
If a particular query does not apply to a data source (e.g. external data sources do not apply to transparency queries), OR for a particular corporation the data is unavailable (e.g. due to our research limitations, or it does not disclose through a voluntary scheme like CDP), we mark the weighting cell with "NA" (not applicable), and the weighting is set to zero. Its original weighting is redistributed evenly through other data points for this query. If no evidence is available (after a search) for a particular cell, it is marked "NS" or not scored with the same impact on the weightings as NA. So each organization has its own specific weighting matrix depending on data availability and relevance. This means that a company will not be impacted by its lack of involvement in policies that do not affect it and conversely will be more accurately assessed for those that do.
Organisation Score (expressed as a percentage from 0 to 100) is a measure of how supportive or obstructive the company’s direct engagement is towards climate policy aligned with the Paris Agreement, with 0 being fully opposed and 100 being fully supportive.
Scores below 50 indicate increasingly significant misalignment between the Paris Agreement and the company’s detailed climate policy engagement, with scores below 25 indicating material and significant opposition. Scores between 50 and 75 indicate mixed engagement with Paris-aligned policy. Scores above 75 indicate broad alignment with, and support for, Paris-aligned policy. If limited evidence has been collected on a company's direct policy engagement, the Organisation Score is signified with an ‘n/a’ (not available).
We note here that the Organisation Scores for companies and industry associations are assessed and calculated in exactly the same manner.
Relationship Score (expressed as a percentage score from 0 to 100) is a measure of how supportive or obstructive the company’s industry associations are towards climate policy aligned with the Paris Agreement, with 0 being fully opposed and 100 being fully supportive.
The Relationship Score is an aggregate assessment of the climate policy engagement of a company’s industry associations and measures the extent to which this is in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This calculation accommodates an assessment of the strength of the relationship between a company and an industry association, for example a stronger weighting will be attributed where a company has a representative on the board of an industry association.
Scores under 50 indicate increasingly significant misalignment between the Paris Agreement and the detailed climate policy engagement of the company’s industry associations, with scores below 25 indicating material and significant opposition. Scores between 50 and 74 indicate mixed engagement with Paris-aligned policy. Scores above 75 indicate broad alignment with, and support for, Paris-aligned policy by the company’s industry associations. If limited evidence has been collected on a company's industry association links, the Relationship Score is signified with an ‘n/a’ (not available).
Performance Band (A+ to F) is a full measure of a company’s climate policy engagement, accounting for both its own engagement and that of its industry associations. For companies, the ‘Organisation Score’ and ‘Relationship Score’ are combined to result in a total score that places the company in a Performance Band. Industry associations do not have a ‘Relationship Score’, so the Performance Band for industry associations is made up of only the ‘Organisation Score’.
There are 16 Performance Bands from A+ (representing a total score from 95-100%) through to E- (a score of 25-30%), with scores below 25% falling in the red "F" band. Grades from A+ to B (i.e. above 75%) indicate broad support for Paris-aligned climate policy, with grades from D to F (i.e. below 50%) indicating increasingly obstructive climate policy engagement. If limited evidence has been collected either on a company's direct policy engagement (Organisation Score) or industry association links (Relationship Score), the Performance Band is signified with an 'n/a' (not available).
Our scores may also be regarded as a measure of a corporation's readiness in the case of a shift towards a low carbon regulatory regime, based on the assumption that their support for this originates from a forward thinking competitive strategy. For example, a corporation who is actively supporting low carbon laws and measures may also be engaged in a strategic shift in its own activities in this direction, thus potentially giving it competitive advantage if legislation should move swiftly to disfavor GHG emissions. Conversely a corporation engaged in overt or covert obstruction of climate change policies may be unlikely to be strategically shifting its activities in a similar manner. This analysis may be pronounced in sectors which will be heavily affected by a fast shift to a low carbon regulatory regime but are not engaged in selling GHG emitting fuels directly, such as the automotive, electric utilities and chemicals processing related sectors. Moreover, some research suggests that political donations are followed by decreased shareholder returns.
Climate change policy and regulations will increasingly affect all corporations regardless of sector, but clearly some will be affected more than others depending on region and regulation. Our performance bands are perhaps best used when corporations from the same sector are compared. A great example is the automotive sector, where manufacturers who are strategically positioning themselves for a low carbon future will support accelerated CO2 emission standards as bolstering their competitive position. Similarly comments can be made about energy intensive users like chemicals, building materials and utilities. Comparing the InfluenceMap performance band of BMW with that of Google, in isolation of information on how these companies perform with respect to their direct competitors may not be as meaningful.
InfluenceMap maintains a global system for tracking, assessing and scoring companies on their engagement with climate change policy against Paris-aligned benchmarks, currently covering around 300 companies along with 150 of their key industry associations.
InfluenceMap prioritizes the top 200 companies based on economic size as determined by the Forbes Global 2000, as well as the 166 companies selected for engagement by the Climate Action 100+ investor initiative. Additional companies and industry associations are included based on a mix of criteria, including: (a) their relative importance to specific regions and/or sectors; (b) their level of engagement and influence on climate-related policy.
We recognize that the list of companies and industry associations currently included in our database is not exhaustive or complete. We aim to progressively extend our coverage to include more entities - both within regions and sectors already covered, and to additional areas. For example, we are currently undertaking detailed analysis and in-country research of several countries, including China and South Korea.
The US Lobby Act of 1995 places certain disclosure requirements on lobbyists and corporations and provides for official databases, which are in part used by well respected NGOs such as OpenSecrets.org. We do not uses these extensively for two reasons. Most importantly, the motivation of the lobbying spend is not sufficiently clear for InfluenceMap to link to specific climate change regulatory strands. Most global multinationals fund a range of political targets for a range of reasons and we do not feel the links are solid enough for this to be one of our data sources. Secondly our analysis of corporate influence stretches far beyond traditional lobbying spend. CEO messaging, trade association capture of technical details of regulations, public facing capture of the climate change debate and other means may be equally or more effective tools. That said, we will use this data if carefully and convincingly analysed by the media or research group so the links to climate change policy are clear.
Engagement Intensity (expressed as a percentage score from 0 to 100) is a measure of the level of policy engagement by the company, whether positive or negative. Scores above 12 indicate active engagement with climate policy, and scores above 25 indicate highly active or strategic engagement with climate policy. Scores below 5 indicate low-level engagement with climate policy. Entities with scores below 5 are not attributed a Performance Band.
Our database contains over 200,000 pieces of evidence backed up by what we consider respected publicly available external sources relevant to our subject matter and the organizations we are ranking. We add to this database daily as new information is available and our scores change in real time. We welcome input from interested parties should any typographical errors, mistakes, perceived misinterpretation of data or other issues be noted, and we stand ready to review our information as comments are made available. We further point users to our Terms and Conditions for issues relating to the appearance of external data on our site and reliance on our platform.
We have a system of receiving alerts from hundreds of web sites with our preset searches and monitor these alerts daily, adding evidence and revising scores in real time. We also encourage interested and knowledgeable parties to comment on and contribute to our website and we will add to our database provided credible documentation exists.
The Finance Project aims to clarify, via analysis and aggregation of publicly available information, the detailed links between the finance sector (banking, investment management, insurance) and private and public companies operating in our global economy.
Finance has a pivotal impact on the development of societies globally and the sector is central to many key theories of change employed by the likes of sustainable finance and the divest-invest climate movement. It is important that these, as well as society as a whole, have objective and easily accessible data on which parts of finance are invested in or doing business with which companies.
This Project will be released late summer 2017. Sign up for our updates or check out our website for further updates and developments.