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Sub-Sovereign Risk Ratings

Identify ESG risks and seize ESG opportunities of US municipal bond issuers


Given the potential and high liquidity of the US municipal market, investors recognize the essential role that sub-sovereign entities can play in achieving sustainable growth. As consideration of ESG factors by Muni investors has grown in recent years, there has been more demand for reliable and comprehensive ESG assessments of US municipal market issuers.

Sub-Sovereign Risk Ratings help investors to understand a municipality’s long-term ESG risk exposure, using quantitative aggregated information to assess its current wealth and whether that wealth is at risk due to socio-economic and ESG factors. Our transparent methodology and wide-ranging ESG and wealth data provide investors with a comprehensive view of a municipality's ESG-related risks. The ratings are a strong fit for assessing US general obligation bonds but can be leveraged for any geographic construct, from broad regional to local levels.

How it Works

The rating measures sub-sovereign wealth – comprising natural, produced, human and institutional capital – and the degree to which that wealth is at risk due to socio-economic and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.


Management of Wealth


Key Features and Benefits


360-Degree Evaluation of ESG-Related Risks

50 ESG and Wealth Data points form the Sub-Sovereign Risk Ratings, comprehensively covering the entity's ESG-related risks.


Absolute Scores and Interpretation

Each of the 50 ESG and Wealth Risk data points include an absolute ESG score, with a trend translation to show whether the score is improving or deteriorating.


Valuation of Sub-Sovereign Wealth

Fourteen Wealth Metrics assess natural (renewable and non-renewable), human, produced and institutional capital, providing investors with granular information on what drives municipal wealth. Our framework brings together traditional financially material metrics and our robust set of ESG metrics.


Climate Data and Physical Risks Data

Sub-Sovereign Risk Ratings provide investors with a holistic view of the entity’s exposure to and management of 11 climate-related risks, including floods, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and landslides.


Assessment of Governance-Related Metrics

Ten unique data points measuring municipal institutional strength and governance differentiate our rating in the market.



Sub-Sovereign Risk Ratings cover more than 10,500 entities, across states, cities, counties and school districts.

Five Risk Levels

Sub-Sovereign Risk Ratings are categorized across five risk levels: negligible, low, medium, high and severe.

Investor Use Cases


ESG Risk Assessments

The ratings’ underlying data calls out specific risks that may expose an entity’s wealth to ESG Risks in the future, providing insights that could fortify credit risk and real estate assessments.



Identify best-in-class entities to optimize client portfolios, reflect their sustainability interests, and highlight high-risk areas and attributes.


Portfolio Management & Reporting

The Sub-Sovereign Risk Ratings enable investors to understand and manage overall ESG portfolio risk, aligning Sustainalytics’ ESG Risk Ratings with US General Obligation bonds and fixed income portfolios.


Macro- Economic Analyses

Utilize holistic assessments of ESG risks and trends to bolster evaluation of sub-sovereign performance.

Would you like to learn more? Get in touch with our team.

Why Sustainalytics?


A Single Market Standard

Consistent approach to ESG assessments across the investment spectrum.


Award-Winning Research and Data

Firm recognized as Best ESG Research and Data Provider by Environmental Finance and Investment Week.


End-to-End ESG Solutions

ESG products and services that serve the entire investment value chain.


30 Years of ESG Expertise

800+ ESG research analysts across our global offices.


A Leading SPO Provider

As recognized by Environmental Finance and the Climate Bonds Initiative.

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