Overview of Impact Assessments

Impact Assessments help you discover brands, companies and investments that align with the causes you care about. You can explore causes on Ethos here.

Here's how Impact Assessments work:

1. We continuously rate companies and funds on 45 causes

We start by defining a problem statement and impact goal for 45 causes, such as Gender Equality, Climate Action, and No Poverty. Impact goals are intended to be broad enough to cover ambitious goals (such as shifting to a sustainable, clean energy economy), while allowing us to include many specific metrics of company performance (such as tons of green house gas emissions). Causes on Ethos are based loosely on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

We aim to include a wide range of issues covering what many people might care about, though we are always refining causes. If there are additional causes you would like to see on Ethos, please let us know.

Each cause includes a set of metrics (usually 25-40) that define how we rate companies and funds for that cause (e.g., percent of women on the board of directors, quality of 401k and benefits offered). We then use these metrics to rate companies with the most recent available data. You can read more about our ratings methodology in detail here.

2. When you sign up for an account on Ethos, we help you pick the causes you care about in an Impact Assessment

When you sign up with Ethos you'll take an Impact Assessment, which involves selecting and rating the causes you care the most about. We use your input to create a custom algorithm that rates companies, brands and investments on the causes you selected, weighted by the importance you selected. You can change this rating algorithm any time you want by retaking the assessment.

3. We use your personalized rating algorithm to recommend brands, companies and investments

We use your personalized algorithm to determine the highest-rated brands, companies and investments for your individual mix of causes. You can see recommendations when you log-in to Ethos, on the "Explore" dashboard.

4. We use your rating algorithm to rate any accounts you link to Ethos

When you link an account to Ethos, we use your custom algorithm to rate your linked accounts. We do this by:

  • Determining the value of all your holdings in specific companies (through stocks and fund compositions); e.g., you may hold $10,000 in a fund that has Company A as 5% of its portfolio, meaning you hold $500 of Company A through that fund
  • Getting the impact ratings for all of your held companies, using your personalized algorithm
  • Creating weighted average ratings for your account; i.e., multiplying ratings of your held companies by their weight within an account. For example, if Company A is rated 60 and Company B is rated 80, and you have an account with $500 stock in Company A and $500 stock in Company B, the account's rating would be 70

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