Environmental Sustainability intro copy

Preventing the worst effects of a warming climate is one of the defining challenges of our lifetime and reminds us how fragile our world is. As a public company that has called upon capital-markets participants to help drive the transition to net-zero, we strive to be transparent in how we seek to reduce our own firm’s carbon footprint.

Our approach is designed to align with the solutions we produce to help investors take climate change into account and make net-zero part of their own investment strategies. We strongly believe that we have a responsibility and commitment to our clients, employees and the communities in which we operate to seek to minimize our impact on the environment and help transition to a net-zero economy in accordance with publicly announced goals. We aim to lead by example.


MSCI is committed to net-zero by 2040

2019

  • Baseline year for MSCI's CO2e targets

2020

  • Set science-based carbon-reduction targets to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions by 50% and Scope 3 by 20%, from a 2019 base year, in each case by 2035.

2021

  • Committed to net-zero before 2040
  • Became a founding member of the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance

2022

  • April 2022
    • Filed for SBTi validation of our near-term and long-term emissions targets
  • November 2022
    • To demonstrate progress toward our 2030 near-term targets, we set 2025 milestones to achieve 100% renewable electricity, reduce our absolute Scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions by 60%, and increase to 60% by spend our suppliers with science-based targets2, in each case from a 2019 base year.
    • Received SBTi validation of our science-based near-term, long-term and net-zero targets:
      • Near-term: Commit to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions by 80% and to reduce absolute Scope 3 CO2e emissions by 50%, in each case by 2030 and from a 2019 base year.
      • Long-term: Commit to reduce absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 CO2e emissions by 90% by 2040 from a 2019 base year.
      • Net-zero: Commit to reach net-zero CO2e emissions across the value chain by 2040 from a 2019 base year.
    • Published our climate transition plan to provide visibility into how we are working to reduce our own carbon footprint and meet our targets and milestones.

Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance

In September 2021, MSCI became a founding member of the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance, which unites leading index providers, credit rating agencies, accounting firms, financial exchanges and other suppliers of market infrastructure that have committed to align their products and services with the goal of global net-zero emissions by 2050.

Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) validated targets

MSCI’s near- and long-term science-based emissions reduction targets have been validated by the SBTi. The SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Our targets align with a 1.5°C trajectory.

Getting to Net Zero

Getting to net-zero

To help meet our ambitious goals, MSCI will prioritize reducing emissions using the levers below.

Source Main levers
Scope 1 and 2
  • Reduce electricity consumption in existing offices
  • Manage new office growth towards locations with renewable electricity access
  • Purchase Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs)¹
Scope 3
  • Engage and influence our suppliers to set similar climate goals as ours
  • Manage business travel and encourage virtual meetings
  • Reduce the need for employees to commute to offices

We anticipate that MSCI’s trajectory of carbon reductions will not be fully linear, and our plan will evolve over time to align with the latest science, the emergence of new and greener technologies, and as new data becomes available. As we revise our plan and receive additional stakeholder input, we intend to make our approach transparent by regularly reporting our progress.


Environmental sustainability metrics

Environmental sustainability metrics

  • Greenhouse gas emissions

    We strive to increase disclosures of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our business operations. In 2020, we expanded the coverage of our emissions to account for all our relevant Scope 3 emissions. In 2022, we received third-party limited assurance for our 2021 greenhouse gas emissions.

    Emissions Metrics Report 2019-2021 (PDF, 129 KB) (opens in a new tab)  |  Emissions Metrics Report 2019-2021 (XLS, 65 KB) (opens in a new tab)  |  Assurance Statement (PDF, 219 KB) (opens in a new tab)

  • Energy efficiency

    We continue to implement new ways to use energy more efficiently through climate control setbacks, energy-efficient lighting, motion sensors and other technologies. We prioritize energy efficient selection of buildings with green certifications including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM). In 2021, we purchased Energy Attribution Certificates (EACs) in the locations where energy was consumed to increase our use of renewable electricity. We intend to review annually the potential purchase of EACs to lower our Scope 2 emissions that we otherwise cannot avoid.

    2019 2020 2021
    Energy consumption  
    Percentage of renewable electricity 17% 53% 94%
    Decarbonization plan indicators
    Reduction of Scope 1 and 2 (market) from 2019 base year -75%
    Reduction of Scope 1 and 2 (location) from 2019 base year -17%
  • Water usage

    MSCI is committed to responsible water management to conserve usage and prevent pollution. We maintain policies that empower staff to procure renewable, reusable and recyclable products. Due to the nature of our business as a financial services provider, our water consumption is not material as illustrated by the estimated water usage for our seven largest locations, representing 80% of our 2021 headcount.

    Water Usage (PDF, 125 KB) (opens in a new tab)  |  Water Usage (XLS, 53 KB) (opens in a new tab)

 

Supplier engagement

  • We are intensifying efforts to drive down emissions across our supply chain — the source of 72% of our greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, our base year. To help achieve that goal, we have developed a sustainable supplier management program that fully integrates climate considerations into our supplier selection and prioritizes our spend based on the strength of supplier climate commitments.

      We require suppliers to take steps to:
    • minimize their environmental impact
    • implement policies and targets to reduce emissions
    • reach net-zero emissions by 2040
    • disclose energy consumption and emissions
    • report annually on progress towards targets

    MSCI created a dedicated Sustainable Supplier Management team in 2021 to deepen our engagement with suppliers and to understand their decarbonization commitments, climate trajectories, and environmental and social practices. We meet with suppliers regularly to emphasize the importance of targets and our expectations to ensure we reach our net-zero goal.

    See our Supplier Code of Conduct for the values and expectations, including labor, human rights, environmental, legal, and regulatory compliance principles, that we expect our suppliers to uphold. We ask that suppliers acknowledge receipt and review the code.

    44%

    Share of MSCI suppliers by 2021 spend that have committed to science-based CO2e-reduction targets.²

    Supplier Code (PDF, 270 KB) (opens in a new tab)

Environmental sustainability reports

Environmental sustainability reports

TCFD report

Investors can explore how MSCI is integrating the latest climate-related risks and opportunities into our business strategy with our Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures report. The report provides our climate-related disclosures in four core business areas recommended by the TCFD: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management and Metrics and Targets.

TCFD 2022 (PDF, 1,900 KB) (opens in a new tab)  |  TCFD 2020 (PDF, 1,872 KB) (opens in a new tab)

CDP Climate Change Questionnaire

In 2021, MSCI submitted its response to the CDP questionnaire for the third consecutive year and increased its score from B to A-. The score improvement reflects MSCI’s leadership position on climate including our best practices related to climate governance, business strategy, financial planning, and carbon reduction initiatives. The questionnaire includes key climate-related metrics such as our energy usage and CO2e emissions which include details on our Scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions and all relevant categories of our Scope 3 emissions. MSCI’s 2022 report has been submitted to the CDP, but not yet scored.

CDP 2022 (PDF, 219 KB) (opens in a new tab)  |  CDP 2021 (PDF, 733 KB) (opens in a new tab)  |  CDP 2020 (PDF, 447 KB) (opens in a new tab)  |  CDP 2019 (PDF, 1,034 KB) (opens in a new tab)

Climate Transition Plan

In 2022, MSCI published a Climate Transition Plan to provide visibility into how we are working to reduce our own carbon footprint. We believe we can accelerate progress toward a more sustainable planet through our ESG and climate solutions and our actions as a firm. 

Climate Transition Plan 2022 (PDF, 1.3 MB) (opens in a new tab)

Environmental policy

MSCI’s environmental policy outlines the environmental principles that help guide our company’s strategic and operational business decisions and support our journey to net-zero. This policy underscores our commitment to limit our environmental impact over time and encourage our stakeholders to do the same. MSCI monitors the policy through an environmental management system.

Environmental policy (PDF, 1,872 KB) (opens in a new tab)

Our Environment - related content

Environmental Sustainability footnote

¹An Energy Attribute Certificate (EAC) is official documentation to prove renewable energy consumption. Each EAC offers proof that a specific unit of renewable energy (usually 1 MWh) has been produced from a renewable source and added to the grid. It essentially reflects the "greenness" of the electricity.

²This includes only those suppliers that had SBTi targets or commitments to setting such targets. For 2021, we also included any supplier that is a member of GFANZ as membership requires an implied commitment to set science-based targets.