Fund Score Methodology

We calculate an overall fund score based on a weighted average of the scores of each underlying metric: 30% carbon reserves, oil & gas, coal & natural gas; 25% military & nuclear weapons, gun manufacturers, landmines & cluster munitions; 25% prison industrial complex, militarization of US-Mexico border, private prison operators; 10% deforestation; 10% tobacco. The overall score is shown relative to nearly 3000 funds in our database.

Metric explanation and data sources

Carbon Reserves Data Source: The Carbon Underground 200™, compiled and maintained by FFI Solutions, identifies the top 100 coal and the top 100 oil and gas publicly-traded reserve holders globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves.

 

Oil & Gas Data Source: Companies from six Morningstar sub-categories: drilling, extraction and production, integrated, midstream, refining and marketing, and equipment and services. It also includes the top 100 oil/gas reserve holders from the Carbon Underground 200™.

 

Coal & Natural Gas Data Source: Companies from four Morningstar sub-categories: independent power producers, diversified, regulated electric, and regulated gas. Any companies in these categories that are engaged in 100% renewable operations, pure transmission, or otherwise don't burn fossil fuels to generate power are not flagged. 

 

Military and Nuclear Weapons Data Source: Major military contractors are tracked using the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Industry Database. The database contains information on arms-producing and military services, including financial data for arms-producing companies in the OECD and developing countries (except China) based on open sources. The public companies from this top 100 list (last updated with 2017 data) were used to screen for major military contractors. Nuclear weapon manufacturers or servicers are tracked using a report from the non-profit organization PAX. Public companies identified as nuclear weapon manufacturers or servicers in PAX's Don't Bank on the Bomb (2019) were used to screen for nuclear weapons.

 

Gun Manufacturers Data Source: Manufacturers of civilian firearms and ammunition are tracked using data from a number of open-source investment research providers, including GoodbyGunStocks, a fund screener designed to show which funds owned which gun companies.

 

Landmines and Cluster Munitions Data Source: Manufacturers of cluster munitions and landmines are tracked using research reports from non-profit organizations PAX and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Public companies identified as banned weapon manufacturers in PAX's Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions A Shared Responsibility (2018), the International Campaign to Ban Landmines's Landmine Monitor (2017), or the International Campaign to Ban Landmines's Cluster Munitions Monitor (2017) were used to screen for cluster munition and landmine companies.

 

Private Prison Operators Data Source: Companies identified as private prison operators have been flagged by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)’s The Investigate Project as directly operating or managing private prison or immigrant detention facilities. The Investigate Project tracks companies involved in oppressive state violence structures in order to promote standards for corporate social responsibility and respect for human rights. Their research database highlights and profiles the main publicly-traded companies involved in the prison and border industries.

Prison Industrial Complex Data Source: This metric flags companies involved in incarceration and detention facilities (including facility management, youth and family detention, private facilities internationally, private prison financing, transportation and deportations, facility surveillance and security, and prison labor), services in facilities (including communication services, health services, banking and financial services, and food, commissary, and other goods), and supervision and monitoring (including e-carceration, community corrections, and bail bonds). The data is sourced from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)’s The Investigate project, which tracks companies involved in oppressive state violence structures in order to promote standards for corporate social responsibility and respect for human rights. Their research database highlights and profiles the main publicly-traded companies involved in the prison and border industries.

Using a scoring rubric based on company data from AFSC’s Investigate Project, some companies are identified as higher risk. These companies received the worst scores on AFSC’s Investigate scoring rubric, based on an assessment of three criteria: the salience of the human rights violation, the company's responsibility for the violation, and the company's responsiveness. The existence of higher risk companies in a fund more negatively impacts the fund’s score for the Prison Industrial Complex metric.

Militarization of the US-Mexico Border Data Source: This metric flags companies involved in incarceration and detention facilities (including facility management, youth and family detention, private prison financing, facility surveillance and security, transportation and deportations, and prison labor), militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border (including border construction and maintenance and border monitoring and surveillance), and immigrant monitoring and surveillance (including high-tech surveillance of immigrants, e-carceration, and bail bonds). The data is sourced from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)’s “The Investigate project,” which tracks companies involved in oppressive state violence structures in order to promote standards for corporate social responsibility and respect for human rights. Their research database highlights and profiles the main publicly-traded companies involved in the prison and border industries.

Using a scoring rubric based on company data from AFSC’s Investigate project, some companies are identified as higher risk. These companies received the worst scores on AFSC’s Investigate scoring rubric, based on an assessment of three criteria: the salience of the human rights violation, the company's responsibility for the violation, and the company's responsiveness. The existence of higher risk companies in a fund more negatively impacts the fund’s score for the Militarization of the US-Mexico Border metric.

Deforestation Data Source: Companies that produce and trade palm oil, paper/pulp, rubber, timber, cattle, and soy, and have a past record or a significant risk of contributing to deforestation, land grabbing, and human rights abuses. The data comes from several sources: the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT), which assesses commodity producers and traders on the public disclosure of their policies, operations and commitments related to environmental, social and governance issues. SPOTT scores tropical forestry and palm oil companies annually against over 100 sector-specific indicators to benchmark their progress over time; Forest 500, which identifies and ranks the most influential companies and financial institutions in forest risk commodity supply chains as we shift to a deforestation-free economy; the Supply Change Initiative from Forest Trends, a resource for businesses, investors, governments, and the civil society organizations that support and hold them accountable, providing information on the extent and value of commitment-driven commodity production and demand; Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); BankTrack, the international tracking, campaigning and CSO support organization targeting private sector commercial banks and the activities they finance. 

 

Tobacco Data Source: Companies that either produce tobacco or manufacture tobacco products, as identified by Morningstar industry categories.

The data used to derive scores for each metric, along with the data displayed for each fund mentioned, is from the above sources and As You Sow. 

 

Information and statistics shown use data from several other sources as well, including the American Economic Liberties Project, Majority Action, the Investment Company Institute, BrightScope, Sway Research, ISS Media Plan Sponsor, Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, and BlackRock. 

 

A fund is shown as being associated with or offered by a financial institution based on information presented directly on the financial institution’s website. 401k fund provider market share, referenced on the Website, is determined only by assets held specifically in target-date mutual funds, and is only an estimate based on data from ISS Media Plan Sponsor.