Moody’s Investors Service has acquired a majority stake in Vigeo Eiris, a French provider of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) research, data, and assessments.

Announced today, the deal highlights the increasing attention being paid to ESG data and analysis, and adds to consolidation in the market of providers.

In a statement, Moody’s said the transaction “recognises that ESG considerations are increasingly relevant to issuers, investors, counterparties and others as capital markets and other stakeholders seek clear and objective standards for understanding and measuring these factors”.

“The acquisition furthers Moody’s objective of promoting global standards for use by market participants,” it said.

Vigeo Eiris said it would retain its brand name and headquarters in France, “ensure continuity of services, and remain autonomous analytically”.

It will be an affiliate of Moody’s.

Nicole Notat, president of Vigeo Eiris, said: “It is with resolve and optimism that I welcome this transaction. It heralds a new era and propels Vigeo Eiris and its teams to new heights in an evolving world where deciphering complex risks is more necessary than ever.”

The ESG data provider said the acquisition would bring its “mission and objectives to fruition” through a process that started in December 2017 when a group of French asset managers and asset owners called for issuers to disclose their ESG ratings in addition to their financial ratings.

The signatories of that statement, which included pension investors such as ERAFP, FRR and Ircantec, also pledged to contribute to consolidation in the market for “extra-financial analysis”.

At the beginning of this year Dutch ESG data, research and ratings firm Sustainalytics acquired GES International, which specialises in engagement and voting for institutional investors.

Eiris was established in 1983 and Vigeo in 2002, and the two entities merged in 2015. The company evaluates organisations’ integration of ESG factors into their strategies, operations and management. One of its offerings is ESG ratings for investors and companies.