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Working with Academia on Data-driven Communication

Working with Academia on Data-driven Communication

A joint research project between the Gunvor Group, Equintel GmbH, and the Institute of Financial Services Zug IFZ of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Lucerne


Founded in 2020 in Berlin, Equintel uses Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide ESG assessments. The primary goal is to achieve transparency and objectivity in ESG and address some of the major shortcomings of ESG reporting and ratings. The company uses large-scale online data to monitor the ESG landscape and extract insights about companies, peergroups and industries, capturing both risks and impact. Equintel monitors existing ESG frameworks and standards, such as the SDGs, GRI, SASB, etc. On top of this, the software discovers new, upcoming topics “on-the-fly” and thus anticipates novel risks and opportunities that become relevant before they are included in any of the existing standards. Equintel’s insights can be used for a variety of use cases such as the establishment of materiality matrices, flagging of ESG controversies, early detection of ESG trends, peergroup based benchmarking and ESG due diligence of investment opportunities.


The Institute for Financial Services Zug IFZ of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is the leading university institute in the financial sector in Switzerland. Since 1997, IFZ has been adding value to the financial sector and to financial professionals in companies across all industries through continuing education, application-oriented research and consulting. The IFZ’s educational portfolio includes, for example, the MSc in International Financial Management or the MSc in Banking and Finance. In the area of continuing education, IFZ offers numerous recognized courses, such as the MAS/DAS Corporate Finance/Controlling, CAS Digital Controlling, conferences and seminars.

As part of Gunvor’s commitment to understanding and addressing ESG impact and risks of its activities, the company launched a joint research project together with Equintel and the IFZ of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Lucerne. The project was dedicated to analyzing ESG topics on a company and peergroup level that allowed for the anticipation of trends and the identification of potential issues. 

After gathering and analyzing the data with the help of a tailor-made dashboard, within a short time, Gunvor was able to screen and confirm its most material ESG topics in the E, S and G pillars. Besides analyzing ESG materiality, the project further focused on the identification of potential gaps between Gunvor’s ESG communication and third-party communication about the company and the sector. 

Key Results

  • Showing Gunvor’s exposures to subtopics in the E, S, and G pillars
  • Establishment of a dynamic ESG materiality matrix 
  • Analyzing the gaps between corporate communication and third-party reporting
  • Creating a special ESG topic matrix for social subtopics such as human capital 
  • Analyzing Gunvor’s peergroup and their ESG topic exposures

Getting a first high-level insight on ESG topic exposures of Gunvor Group to challenge and confirm the approach on material topics and issues.

It is obvious that third-party data about Gunvor and the industry is mostly linked with the Environmental pillar. The figure shows that in the E pillar third-parties data focuses mainly on energy sources ranging from fossil fuels to renewable energies. 

Though social aspects rank third behind environmental and governance topics, Human Rights, Gender Diversity and Human Capital are the main focus of attention and should be covered in the Company’s engagement and communication.  

This year, a section on Human Capital has been added to the report.