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EthicsGrade utilises ChatGPT to firm up ESG ratings

Source: EthicsGrade

EthicsGrade, a specialist ESG (environmental sustainability, social justice, and corporate governance) rating agency, is proud to announce its ground-breaking integration of generative artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance and complement its research on corporate digital responsibility (CDR) ratings.

This pioneering integration marks the first utilisation of GPT to advance ESG ratings, including the governance of artificial intelligence, further solidifying EthicsGrade’s commitment to environmental sustainability, social justice, and corporate governance.

Through its integration with GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer), developed by OpenAI, EthicsGrade will leverage its extensive raw research data, encompassing over 1,000 data points for each graded company. Numerical scores and automated analyst reports will be generated, providing transparent explanations for each score, supplemented with pertinent evidence whenever available. GPT will complement the work of EthicsGrade’s analysts, extracting information from corporate websites and long documents, giving users of the free platform a rounder summary and greater insights into why companies have been given a particular ESG rating.

Initially, EthicsGrade has employed GPT to augment analyst research on approximately 300 companies, on the aspects of their ESG performance that pertain to technology risks such as cybersecurity, data protection, and governance of artificial intelligence. The new platform went live on 27th April 2023, and has now been fully tested such that its use is to be expanded across more companies. By the end of 2023, EthicsGrade aims to fully integrate GPT across its complete universe of 3,600 companies, while concurrently introducing an interactive interface that enables fluid database interrogation for EthicsGrade’s users.

Charles Radclyffe, CEO and co-founder of EthicsGrade, said: “We want to be able to answer any ESG question for any stakeholder on any company. GPT, on-top of our existing predictive technology, helps get us one step closer to achieving our mission.”

“As the only ESG company dedicated to assessing the whole spectrum of digital risks, especially the governance of automated solutions like AI, the irony is that we’re now using AI to provide ESG ratings on AI systems. However, our methodology emphasises a significant human-in-the-loop component, and we have implemented a content moderation policy which we hope will serve as an example for other companies seeking to harness the power of GPT-enabled solutions, but at the same time not compromise on the management of the risks.”

EthicsGrade is the only specialist provider of ESG data on the governance of technology across all industries. The company firmly believes that in the near future, CDR will become a key consideration in mainstream ESG discussions due to the escalating digitalisation and amplification of autonomous systems and AI and the recognition of the potential harms these systems, if left inappropriately governed, can cause.

Examples of GPT summaries of corporate digital responsibility ratings for companies

Apple - EthicsGrade score 65.49 = C

Apple is a leading technology company that designs and develops consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. The company has a strong reputation for innovation and product design, which has resulted in a loyal customer base. However, the company faces several weaknesses when it comes to corporate digital responsibility and ESG practises. For instance, Apple was not found to have a Chief Digital Officer or an AI Ethics Board/Council or Review Committee with clear membership and terms of reference. Additionally, EthicsGrade found no simple communication on how to raise issues with the AI Ethics Board/Council or Review Committee. The company’s automation CoE was not found to consult with union representatives about short term, medium-term, and long-term automation plans. While the company has a statement of core values and principles concerning Equity & Inclusion, EthicsGrade found no monitoring processes and practises in place to enforce them. Furthermore, EthicsGrade found no evidence that the company have a governing body with veto power over projects based on ethical objections.

HSBC - EthicsGrade score 56.52 = D

HSBC is a multinational banking and financial services company that operates in a regulated industry. The company has a chief digital officer, but EthicsGrade found no separate board overseeing technology governance. HSBC was not found to have an AI ethics board or council, and communication on the topic of AI ethics is limited. The company has a statement of core values and principles concerning equity and inclusion, but monitoring processes for these values are lacking based on the evidence of our EthicsGrade research. EthicsGrade found no workers council or external groups consulted on the long-term employability of former employees displaced by automation. However, HSBC does acknowledge global diversity and inclusion movements like pride month and has initiatives in place to improve diversity and inclusion across the business. The privacy policy is up to date with regulations, but HSBC was not found to have a review mechanism for their data ethics framework.

Wells Fargo - EthicsGrade score 59.22 = D

Wells Fargo operates in a regulated industry and acknowledges global diversity and inclusion movements such as pride month. However, EthicsGrade could find no evidence that the company has implemented a clear separation in messaging between questions of digital ethics and regulatory compliance, and it was not found to have an AI Ethics Board or Council, nor could EthicsGrade find any evidence that it often discuss AI ethics in internal or external communications. The company also was found to seemingly lack initiatives to promote and improve trust in AI across the business and customer base. Wells Fargo has a statement of core values but was not found to have monitoring processes and practises for its statement of core values. The company’s data team was not found to retain external legal counsel for advice on risks associated with data strategy and processes, while EthicsGrade found no oversight committee focused on the protection of children’s privacy and data.

TikTok - EthicsGrade score 32.03 = NR

TikTok is a popular social media platform that has gained immense popularity in recent years. However, the company has been criticised for its lack of corporate digital responsibility and ESG practices. TikTok was found to seemingly lack a governing committee or board overseeing technology governance and was not found to have a Chief Digital Officer accountable for technology governance. EthicsGrade found no evidence that the company has an AI ethics board/council, and EthicsGrade found no clear separation between digital ethics and regulatory compliance. TikTok was not found to have initiatives in place to promote trust in AI across the business and customer base. The organization was found to seemingly lack transparency regarding funding for AI ethics committees, worker’s rights, unionization of employees, and diversity initiatives. The company also was found to seemingly lack processes to ensure data integrity, mitigate bias in data, and reduce energy consumption of technology.

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