It takes clarity

to move forward

ASCOR is the first publicly available, independent, and open-source investor framework and database assessing the climate action and alignment of sovereign bond issuers.

Introducing ASCOR

The impact of climate change is becoming more severe, and the pressure on governments to act is urgent.

As part of their strategic response to climate change, investors are making commitments to reach net zero and to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their investment portfolios, which includes sovereign debt. Currently, there is no universally coherent way to assess sovereign debt from a climate change perspective.

ASCOR (Assessing Sovereign Climate-related Opportunities and Risks) was designed to address this gap. As the first tool of its kind, ASCOR can help investors assess sovereign exposure to climate risk and engender greater transparency between issuers, financial institutions, and relevant stakeholders.

Meet our partners

ASCOR Partners

To reveal a Partner's profile, hover over their logo:

Academic partner:

Academic partner:


Aktia is a Nordic boutique manager and financial services group with history dating back to 1826. Aktia’s key focus areas include EMD and European credit. Aktia has a strong commitment to sustainability and ESG in all operations.


Aktia is a Nordic boutique manager and financial services group with history dating back to 1826. Aktia’s key focus areas include EMD and European credit. Aktia has a strong commitment to sustainability and ESG in all operations.

Allspring Global Investments

Allspring Global Investments™ is an independent asset management firm committed to thoughtful investing, purposeful planning, and inspiring a new era of investing that pursues both financial returns and positive outcomes.

Amundi Asset Management

Amundi, the leading European asset manager, ranking among the top 10 global players, offers its 100 million clients - retail, institutional and corporate - a complete range of savings and investment solutions in active and passive management, in traditional or real assets. This offering is enhanced with IT tools and services to cover the entire savings value chain. A subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole group and listed on the stock exchange, Amundi currently manages nearly €1.9 trillion of assets.

Asia Investor Group on Climate Change

The Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) is an initiative to create awareness and encourage action among Asia’s asset owners and financial institutions about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and low carbon investing. AIGCC provides capacity for investors to share best practice and to collaborate on investment activity, credit analysis, risk management, engagement, and policy.


Brightwell is the primary service provider to the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) one of the UK’s largest private sector pension schemes with c.£37bn of assets under management and c.263,000 members. BTPS has a long history as a responsible and engaged investor. As part of its responsible investment strategy, Brightwell, on the Scheme’s behalf, integrates environmental, social and governance factors into its portfolio companies and assets. In 2020, the Scheme set an ambitious, 2035 net zero goal.

In April 2023, Brightwell was appointed as fiduciary manager to the DB section of the EE Pension Scheme and has opened its capabilities to other DB pension


Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies, and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future.


Chronos Sustainability was established in 2017 to deliver transformative, systemic change in the social and environmental performance of key industry sectors. Chronos is involved in a wide range of global transformation projects across the sustainability spectrum and develops tools and strategies to enable its clients to accelerate action and effect real-world outcomes at scale.

The Church of England Pensions Board

The Church of England Pensions Board provides pensions for 41,000 current and future members of its pension schemes and is committed to be net zero. It is a £3.5b AUM diversified fund invested in multiple asset classes including sovereign bonds. Together with BT Pension Fund the Board set up and co-leads the ASCOR Project. The Board also Chairs the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI).

Colchester Global Investors

Colchester Global Investors is an independent, global government bond manager and was founded in1999 by Ian Sims, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer. Colchester manages approximately US$30bn across a variety of strategies: Global Bond, Global Green Bond, Global Inflation-Linked Bond, Local Currency Emerging Market Debt and Global Unconstrained Alpha.

Investor Group on Climate Change

The Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) is a not-for-profit member organisation that aims to accelerate progress on climate change by connecting, collaborating, and advocating on behalf of Australian and New Zealand institutional investors.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is the European membership body for investor collaboration on climate change and the voice of investors taking action for a prosperous, low carbon future. IIGCC has more than 350 members, mainly pension funds and asset managers, across 23 countries, with over €51 trillion in assets under management.

Franklin Templeton Investments

Franklin Templeton is a global investment management organization with over $1.4 trillion in AUM and serving clients in over 155countries. The company offers specialization on a global scale, bringing extensive capabilities in fixed income, equity, alternatives and multi-asset solutions.

MFS Investment Management

MFS launched the first open-ended mutual fund in the US in 1924. Today, MFS is a global investment manager offering fixed income, equity and quantitative solutions to financial intermediaries and institutional clients around the world. Our purpose is to create long-term value responsibly for our clients.

The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance is a member-led initiative of 84 institutional investors, with over US$11 trillion in assets under management, committed to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. 

Ninety One

Ninety One is an active, global investment manager with a strong emerging markets heritage based between London and Cape Town.  It was established in South Africa in 1991, as Investec Asset Management.

Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. With an international signatory network of more than 5,000 organisations, PRI works to support its signatories in incorporating responsible investment factors into their investment and ownership decisions.

Sura Asset Management

SURA Asset Management is Latin America’s largest non-banking manager of financial assets, and the leader in the pensions industry in the region. SURA Asset Management is a company that specializes in pensions, savings, asset management, and investment, and is present in México, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay.

Transition Pathway Initiative Centre

The Transition Pathway Initiative Centre is an independent, authoritative source of research and data into the progress being made by the financial and corporate world in making the transition to a low-carbon economy. It is based at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Academic partner:

07 February 2023

Webinar: Introducing the ASCOR Project

Watch nowDownload slides

Our objective

A coalition of international investors exceeding $5trn in AUM have created the ASCOR project. The ASCOR project is the first publicly available, independent, and open-source investor framework and database to assess the climate action and alignment of sovereigns.

Making a difference


The ASCOR tool identifies the most critical and publicly available climate data points to be used in sovereign debt financial analysis, thus reducing uncertainty around what information is needed.


ASCOR’s methodology and third-party assessments will be fully publicly available and, in understanding what investors wish to learn, issuers can then share relevant, climate change related information.


ASCOR will open communication channels and facilitate greater dialogue between private investors and sovereign bond issuers, enabling issuers to demonstrate their climate change progress more easily over time, attract additional investment, and build trust.


Through clarity, transparency, and dialogue, the ASCOR project has the potential to build investor confidence in governments’ climate change goals, which will encourage the redirecting of finance to build more resilient societies.

Our request

We believe ASCOR has the potential to fill an important information gap and be a welcome addition to the limited toolkit that sovereign bondholders and sovereign debt issuers currently have. We are keen to engage with key stakeholders within sovereign issuers, development banks, and relevant parties to help promote industry buy-in, ensure it is effective, and well understood.

Broad multi-stakeholder feedback on the initial ASCOR framework is crucial. We welcome written feedback through this online survey by March 31st, 2023.Otherwise, to learn more about the framework, attend a roundtable, or provide feedback, please get in touch.

Get in touch

Our background timeline

February 2023

We have published the ASCOR Consultation Report, explaining the overall framework, and launch a public survey seeking to obtain feedback. In parallel, we will convene virtual and in-person regional roundtables to generate greater insights.

Q2-Q3 2023

We will conduct assessments of an initial 25 countries and share respective results with sovereign issuer representatives for feedback.

Article by Responsible Investor, covering ASCOR's recent Progress Note.

Q4 2023

We will publish the ASCOR Final Report and the pilot country assessments. In the following years, we will assess remaining sovereign debt issuing countries, launch, and integrate this data into the ASCOR tool, which will be regularly updated over time.

It takes clarity to move forward...

Resources and media

07 December 2023
First assessment of countries’ climate risks for sovereign bond holders shows progress on climate laws; but investors warn of ‘ambition gap’

A new tool for sovereign bond investors, two years in developmentafter extensive consultation with governments and investors, has published thefirst independent academic assessment of 25 countries’ climate targets andpolicies. The findings highlight a mixed picture of significant progress onframework climate laws, but a lack of ambition in targets to align with a 1.5°Cpathway.

07 December 2023
Countries’ progress on managing climate change: The first ASCOR assessment results

This report presents the results of the first data release of Assessing Sovereign Climate-related Opportunities and Risks (ASCOR), an investor-led project to develop a free, publicly available, independent tool that assesses countries on their progress in managing the low-carbon transition and the impacts of climate change.

14 November 2023
ASCOR framework: methodology note

In February 2023, ASCOR launched a public consultation on the initial framework. The ASCOR framework presented in this methodology note is an iteration of the initial framework following the integration of feedback from the consultation.

11 September 2023
Staying focused: sovereign climate assessment tool resists mission creep

The ground-breaking ASCOR project refuses to allow the number of indicators to 'explode' out of control, as it strives to keep the tool practicable, LSE's Antonina Scheer tells Ahren Lester.

24 August 2023
ASCOR Framework Furthers Fairness Focus

Ahead of Q4 release, sovereign-focused project plans to streamline indicators and avoid “penalising emerging markets” with “synthetic” climate rankings.

12 July 2023
Sovereign bond climate risk initiative to reduce number of indicators in framework

'The ASCOR Project says the move will ensure the tool's usability and practicality for investors.'

An article by Responsible Investor covering ASCOR's latest Progress Note.

11 July 2023
ASCOR Progress Note

This progress note outlines the key developments that have taken place between February 2023 and July 2023. It provides an overview of the consultation process, highlights from the feedback, proposed expansion of country coverage and an update on the project’s short-term timeline.

07 February 2023
A framework to assess sovereign bond issuers on climate change: Consultation report

ASCOR will allow investors to assess governments’ climate-related commitments, their policy frameworks (including carbon pricing, energy subsidies, the phase-out of combustion vehicles, deforestation and land use policies) and the actions they are taking to ensure that the benefits of the low-carbon transition and of adaptation are shared among their citizens.

07 February 2023
ASCOR Consultation to Assess Sovereign Debt Issuers on Climate Change  

The impacts of climate change become more severe and the pressure on governments to act increases as each year passes. As part of their strategic responses to the risks and opportunities presented by climate change, investors are making overarching commitments to contribute to the transition towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by significantly reducing the emissions associated with their investment portfolios.

13 June 2022
The ASCOR Project: Progress report

ASCOR will allow investors to assess governments’ climate-related commitments, their policy frameworks (including carbon pricing, energy subsidies, the phase-out of combustion vehicles, deforestation and land use policies) and the actions they are taking to ensure that the benefits of the low-carbon transition and of adaptation are shared among their citizens.

17 August 2022
Sovereign engagement: The next frontier for fixed-income investors?

Net-zero commitments are prompting asset managers and owners to address the climate implications of investing in government debt.

28 June 2022
Sovereign debt investors stress emerging markets gap in new climate risk metrics

The ASCOR project is expected to provide a framework of reporting and measurement that recognises the different development statuses and funding needs of governments.

27 July 2022
Unlocking Emerging Markets

Mobilising sovereign debt for clean energy projects in emerging markets can have a big positive impact, but it’s not without its challenges. ESG factors, alongside other risks, have long played a part in determining an investor’s decision to channel capital into emerging markets (EMs).

24 June 2022
How Green is Government Debt?

Consistent data on sovereign climate risks is crucial, says Victoria Barron, ASCOR Chair and Head of Sustainable Investment, BT Pension Scheme. Governments know they must attract ESG investors to sovereign debt if they are to meet their net zero carbon emission targets by 2050.

16 September 2021
Announcing the Advisory Group for the ASCOR Project

The ASCOR Project has been established to provide investors with a common lens to understand sovereign exposure to climate risk and how governments plan to transition to a low-carbon economy.

26 May 2021
“Cutting Out the Noise” on Sovereign Bonds

As sustainable bond issuance continues to grow, a new project aims to bring clarity and simplicity to sovereign bonds – the “poor relation” of responsible investment.

14 May 2021
The ASCOR Project: Assessing Sovereign Climate-related Opportunities and Risks

Target setting frameworks have been evolving, including IIGCC’s Net Zero Investment Framework and the AOA’s Target Setting Protocol. In addition, the PRI has recently published guides specifically focussing on ESG incorporation and engagement for sovereign bondholders.

View more

About us

The Assessing Sovereign Climate-related Opportunities and Risks (ASCOR) Project is led by asset owners, asset managers and investor networks. ASCOR is co-chaired by Victoria Barron, BT Pension Scheme Management, and Adam Matthews, Church of England Pensions Board. ASCOR was established with the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (AOA), Ceres, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and Sura Asset Management, who are all part of ASCOR’s Steering Committee. The project is supported by Chronos Sustainability. 

Academic partner

ASCOR’s academic partner is the Transition Pathway Initiative Centre, based at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Advisory Committee

The ASCOR Advisory Committee, who are among the funders of the current stage of the project, is composed of the Steering Committee members and representatives from Aktia Bank, Allspring Global Investments, Amundi Asset Management, Colchester Global Investors, Franklin Templeton, MFS Investment Management, and Ninety One. Additional partners to the project include the investor networks Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) and Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC).

To learn more about the framework please get in touch.


How frequently will the ASCOR country assessments be updated?

Country assessments will be updated annually. The assessment date for each country is noted on the ASCOR tool.

How many countries will ASCOR assess?

The current coverage of the ASCOR tool in 2023 is 25 countries. The plan is to expand to 70 countries in 2024-2025 and subsequently to over 100 countries.

What are the terms for using the ASCOR tool?

The ASCOR framework and tool are for illustrative non-commercial research and educational purposes. If you would like to use ASCOR data in any other manner, including for commercial purposes, you will need the LSE TPI Centre’s written permission. In this regard, please email all inquiries to: For further information on the terms of use for the ASCOR tool, please consult the disclaimer at the end of the 2023 ASCOR results report.

Unless otherwise specified in the indicator methodology, assessments for ASCOR are undertaken using in-depth policy research drawing on public government documents. In the case of most quantitative metrics and some indicators, third-party data sources are used. Most relevant datasets are published under a Creative Commons licence; others require dedicated licensing agreements. All third-party data providers and their respective Terms & Conditions are listed in the References section of the ASCOR methodology note.

What type of analysis is used to determine the results in the ASCOR tool?

The majority of the ASCOR framework is composed of qualitative ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions with the aim of providing investors and other stakeholders with clearly interpretable performance indicators. The assessment of these binary indicators requires in-depth and complex policy analysis. To supplement the binary indicators, quantitative metrics are also included in the ASCOR tool, using third-party data providers or quantitative analysis. These quantitative metrics serve as contextual information on the progress countries are making towards meeting their targets and implementing their policies.

Does the ASCOR tool provide a country-level score?

The ASCOR tool does not aggregate assessment results into a single composite country ‘score’. As such, there is no weighting of the different indicators and metrics. The ASCOR tool shows each indicator result transparently as a dashboard, allowing users to compare countries on each indicator. The only aggregation analysis in the ASCOR tool is at the thematic area level. The result for an area is ‘Yes’ if all indicators within an area are assessed as ‘Yes’; ‘Partial’ if some of the indicators are assessed as ‘Yes’; and ‘No’ if all of the indicators are assessed as ‘No’.

Does the ASCOR tool include physical risk?

The ASCOR tool assesses the full range of climate risks and opportunities including both transition risk and physical risk. On the latter, it specifically evaluates how countries are managing physical risk by assessing the presence, comprehensiveness and implementation of adaptation policies. The ASCOR tool does not include physical risk metrics that directly measure exposure to climate hazards.

What role have investors and other stakeholders played in developing the ASCOR tool?

The ASCOR project has been led by asset owners, asset managers, and investor networks since its inception in 2021 (see the ASCOR Partners listed here). These stakeholders are members of the ASCOR Steering and Advisory Committees and participated in the development of the ASCOR framework and tool.

In early 2023, a consultation process was held to gather feedback on an initial ASCOR framework. The TPI Centre collected feedback through an online survey from a broad range of stakeholders, including governments, investors, investor networks, banks, academia, civil society, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the wider public. In addition, the ASCOR project partners convened virtual global webinars and regional roundtables with investor and country representatives in North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. ASCOR also held consultation meetings with key organisations including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and World Bank as well as with selected national Debt Management Offices and Ministries of Environment to understand country-specific perspectives. The modifications made to the final ASCOR framework based on consultation feedback are described in Appendix 3 of the ASCOR methodology note.

How does the ASCOR tool fit into the landscape of climate investment tools?

The ASCOR tool is a free, publicly available independent assessment framework that evaluates countries on their progress managing the low-carbon transition and the impacts of climate change. It is not an accounting framework, such as the one developed by the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), which help investors to measure and account for their financed and facilitated emissions but complements it. The ASCOR tool fills a market gap by assessing the points of highest importance to investors with respect to sovereign climate performance, therefore enhancing the resources available to investors to enhance their investment analysis.

What are the use cases of the ASCOR tool?

We expect that investors and other stakeholders will be able to use ASCOR in a variety of ways.

Investors may use the ASCOR tool to:
  • Inform investment decisions and frame climate risk in sovereign debt analysis
  • Guide active engagement with sovereign issuers to ensure better management of physical and transition risks
  • Meet their own net zero targets and measure portfolio alignment
  • Enable reporting to regulators on how they are managing sustainability risks, including in their sovereign debt holdings
  • Support investment goals of financing and supporting a low-carbon transition by helping to identify low-carbon and climate-resilient sovereign investment solutions
  • Track country-level progress on climate action to evaluate the credibility of sovereign sustainability-themed bonds, thereby facilitating the flow of transition funding
  • Inform climate-focused country risk in the context of equity and corporate bond investing
Sovereign bond issuers may use the ASCOR tool to:
  • Showcase their policy progress to an investor audience during engagement discussions and bond roadshows
  • Track policy progress and identify areas of improvement
  • Develop Key Performance Indicators to issue sustainability-linked sovereign bonds
  • Streamline climate reporting to investors
  • Expand the size of the sustainable bond market with clearer investor expectations and improved transparency of KPIs

Will the ASCOR tool penalise access to capital of emerging markets?

The ASCOR framework was designed to avoid introducing an income bias which could penalise emerging markets when assessing country performance on climate change. It was developed in line with the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC) enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which posits that countries’ contributions to climate change mitigation should consider their differing responsibilities for climate change and abilities to act. This has important implications for how countries at different income levels are assessed.

The ASCOR tool puts CBDR-RC into practice in several ways. First, in Pillar 1, countries’ 2030 targets are not only assessed against a cost-efficient country 1.5⁰C benchmark, but also against a fair share allocation which considers historical emissions, population and income per capita. In addition, to address concerns that some policy indicators may not be relevant or appropriate for middle- and low-income countries, selected countries are exempt from some of the more ambitious indicators. See the ASCOR methodology note for further details. Overall, by providing consistent comparisons between countries climate policies, the ASCOR tool allows investors to make objective country peer evaluations, helping them identify climate finance opportunities and needs.