Our environment intro copy
Sustainability of our environment is a top priority. We have taken actions through our day-to-day operations to implement initiatives to reduce our impact on the environment. We remain committed to continuing to develop, adopt and monitor climate and carbon-related strategies to even further reduce our environmental footprint.
MSCI is Committed to Net-zero Prior to 2040
MSCI is committed to the goal of net-zero emissions before 2040. To achieve this goal throughout MSCI’s global operations, MSCI will prioritize:
- Reducing emissions: accelerate carbon-reduction initiatives focusing on the most material and controllable emissions, such as electricity consumption, business travel and employee commutes; favor green-certified buildings for MSCI offices, promote a flexible working environment for employees, encourage virtual meetings and low-carbon options for business travel
- Engaging suppliers: tackle emissions in the MSCI supply chain and prioritize engagement with major suppliers to achieve shared net-zero goals
MSCI had previously pledged to reduce by 2035 the company’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50%, and Scope 3 emissions by 20%. With the commitment to transition to net-zero prior to 2040, MSCI will review and publish revised interim targets using standardized metrics and initiatives, such as those developed by the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). MSCI will also supplement its transition strategy as best practices and technological developments emerge.
MSCI Environmental Policy
Given our efforts to limit our environmental impact, we have developed the following Environmental Policy. MSCI monitors the policy through an environmental management system.
MSCI’s environmental policy outlines the environmental principles that help guide our company’s strategic and operational business decisions. This policy underscores our commitment to limiting our environmental impact over time and encouraging our stakeholders to do the same.
Our environment copy part 1
Our business strategy and the outcomes anticipated by environmentally responsible behaviors are strongly aligned. In order to further assess and develop our environmental impact strategy and to enhance our transparency towards our clients, shareholders and employees, we submitted our first full CDP disclosure in 2019. CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, runs a global disclosure system which enables investors, companies, cities, states and regions to measure and manage their environmental impacts. For the first couple of years, we have received a grade of B and in 2021, we were upgraded to A-. The score improvement reflects our leadership position on climate including our best practices related to climate governance, business strategy and financial planning and carbon reduction initiatives.
MSCI-CDP Climate Change Questionnaire 2021
To help MSCI in its ongoing efforts to build upon the processes and frameworks for managing climate-related risks and opportunities and improving its communications around these efforts, MSCI conducted a climate-related scenario analysis (in alignment with the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures Recommendations) in early 2019.
In 2020, we published our TCFD report, which provides climate-related financial disclosure that aligns with the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and aims to provide greater transparency regarding our approach to sustainability, facilitate sustainable investing by the investment community and help reduce our own long-term financial risks related to climate change.
Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Report
Carbon Emissions Metrics and Targets
Using science-based target methodologies, we plan to reduce our Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2035 and our Scope 3 emissions by 20% by 2035, starting in 2019. Ways to achieve those targets include implementing energy-efficiency measures, increasing the use of renewables, shrinking employee commutes to their offices and business travel and reducing our footprint throughout the supply chain. Assuming we meet our carbon-reduction targets, our activities will contribute to a temperature rise below 2°C by 2100 , which is aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Over the last several years, we have focused on improving our disclosures around GHG emissions associated with our business operations. Staying true to that commitment, in 2020 we expanded the coverage of our emissions to account for all our relevant Scope 3 emissions. The table below shows the year-over-year change in Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Our environment copy - part 2
MSCI Green House Gas Emissions in Metric Tons C02e
|Purchased Good and Services||25,934||28,971||28,444||-2%|
Waste Generated in Operations
Transmission and Distribution
Use of sold products
Downstream leased assets
|Total (Scope 1,2,3)||41,362||43,957||38,859||-12%|
aPercentage change versus 2019 baseline.
Our offices and datacenters
MSCI has adopted a hybrid-work model for virtually all its employees. As of October 2021, 88% of MSCI employees working under this hybrid-model are assigned to office locations with LEED, BREEAM or equivalent green building recognition. 100% of MSCI offices participate in landlord-managed and/or local recycling programs. We have installed motion sensors and automated lighting controls in offices which accommodate nearly 97% of all employees.
Our offices in Berkeley, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Dubai, Frankfurt, Manila, Mumbai, New York, Norman, Seoul, Toronto and Zurich are LEED certified; our London and Paris offices are BREEAM-certified. Our offices in Hong Kong, Monterrey, Singapore and Tokyo are in buildings which have received national recognition for environmental design and green building technology. Importantly, when selecting office locations, we take into consideration various sustainability criteria, including the potential impact of climate-related risks, such as exposure to extreme changes in temperature and flooding risk.
MSCI takes various environmental factors, such as existence of landlord-driven or local recycling initiatives, use of sustainable and energy-efficient materials and control systems enabling the efficient power use, and public transport availability into consideration as part of our new office acquisition approach, and we implement our own office programs for low environmental impact product use as well. MSCI has personnel whose roles include coordination of activities to support our corporate environmental and carbon disclosure activities, and to oversee our global office practices and standards to ensure that we act in a consistent and environmentally conscious manner throughout our offices.
Since 2016, MSCI's principal data centers, located within the U.S., have been powered by 100% renewable energy. These employ class-leading techniques in terms of energy consumption and heat management in addition to their use of renewable energy. Since 2019, Europe's data centers have also been powered by 100% renewable energy. Our Asia-Pacific data centers utilize renewable energy sources as one part of their overall electricity consumption.
In July 2020, MSCI selected Microsoft Azure as its strategic cloud services provider. Microsoft Azure offers geographically diverse data center locations, which allow us to mitigate the potential impact of a climate event to any specific site. Microsoft is also committed to being carbon negative by 2030.
In 2020, our total energy consumption was 21,818.63 Mwh, 53% was coming from renewable sources.
Energy efficiency and sustainable working practices
While we do not believe that our business model has substantive risks related to climate change, we are aware of and consider the physical risks and impact of climate change on costs of travel, facilities and production resulting from the rising costs of resources.
We leverage technology to automate and streamline labor-intensive processes and promote virtual employee and client engagement, reducing travel to enhance the scalability, sustainability, and long-term efficiencies of our business.
MSCI significantly reduces our environmental impact linked to physical travel through business travel policies that encourage employees to plan trips well in advance, to bundle short duration trips into fewer longer term trips and to take fewer physical trips by holding virtual meetings supported by conferencing technologies. MSCI currently averages over 75,000 virtual meetings monthly. In addition, we have implemented policies to reduce paper usage, by using electronic documents rather than paper, eliminating publications which were previously sent to clients in printed format and tracking the volume of our printing. Our estimated paper usage in 2021 was the equivalent of 15 trees, down from the equivalent of 275 trees in 2020.
As a leader in ESG research and applications, MSCI is also committed to do its part to promote sustainability and to reduce consumption.
Across our offices MSCI has eliminated single-use plastic items, including water bottles, cutlery, straws, coffee stirrers and other disposable items. We participate in recycling programs and e-waste disposal. Our Climate Action Network (local employee-driven resource groups across our global offices) engage in a variety of initiatives including promoting sustainable waste management and working practices, educating and increasing awareness of key environmental issues and challenges facing those offices, and running events to engage employees on local and global environmental matters. As of October 2021, there were 22 Climate Action Networks across MSCI global offices.
Business continuity, disaster recovery and risk management
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, our first priority has been to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our employees and clients. MSCI has taken prudent steps to ensure a healthy and productive working environment including:
- Reinforcing our infrastructure to support a virtual workforce
- Converting client events to virtual experiences
- Eliminating business travel
All MSCI staff have been enabled and are fully supported by the firm to work remotely.
MSCI is cognizant of inherent climate-related risks which have the potential to have a substantive impact on our business. We operate a multi-disciplinary company-wide process for identification, assessment and management of risks through our Enterprise Risk Management program, which is overseen by the Enterprise Risk Oversight Committee and regularly reports to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.
MSCI’s risks are assessed and prioritized using a standardized assessment framework which considers the likelihood of a range of potential impacts. Climate change impact is considered as part of our ongoing review of our business continuity plans. MSCI’s Crisis Management Team and Technology Service Operations Service Management Team are responsible for all aspects of disaster recovery response efforts on a local, regional or global basis, as applicable. The Business Resiliency team within IT Risk develops, implements, and tests technology systems to support MSCI’s business continuity plans. Our Head of IT Risk reports to the Audit Committee on MSCI’s business continuity and IT disaster recovery plans designed to mitigate the impact of climate-related and other disruptions.
We have a comprehensive business continuity policy, along with disaster recovery plans, aimed at mitigating the potential impacts of an incident or disaster, including extreme weather events and natural disasters, such that facilities, systems and staff can continue to function, and business disruptions are avoided or kept to a minimum.We have a comprehensive business continuity policy, along with disaster recovery plans, aimed at mitigating the potential impacts of an incident or disaster, including extreme weather events and natural disasters, such that facilities, systems and staff can continue to function, and business disruptions are avoided or kept to a minimum.
Access more information on our security awareness program and program of information security to secure data, systems and services.
MSCI’s commitment to the environment extends beyond our company. Our supply chain must:
- implement appropriate standards to minimize harm to the environment caused by their activities, and comply with applicable environmental laws, regulations and standards;
- handle waste in a responsible manner;
- recycle material;
- avoid use of scarce natural resources.
As of October 2021, more than 40% of our top suppliers* by spend have made climate commitments. (*By spend over two-year period 2019 and 2020.)
For further details see our Supplier Code of Conduct, which applies to all of our suppliers.