ESG Ratings for SMEs – Smart, Fast, and Affordable

Steinbeis consultant helps SMEs maintain their strategic focus on sustainability

ESG ratings are used to assess how the business models of companies account for sustainability. To do this, risk evaluations are carried out and performance is measured on the basis of environmental, social, and corporate governance factors. ESG ratings are typically used to gauge the sustainability performance of companies listed on the stock exchange, although some rating agencies also investigate states, governments, and funds. Steinbeis Entrepreneur Enrico Moretti specializes in ESG ratings for SMEs. His clients are awarded an ESG label which they can use when communicating with external stakeholders, offering a point of added value compared to competitors.

How does the ESG rating offered by the Steinbeis Consulting Center for ESG and Sustainability Consulting work? “We purchase industry ratings from a leading assessment agency and make the target company the focus of this industry analysis. This is followed by a benchmarking and fine-tuning exercise with 34 further items of information, plus an adjustment of the original rating,” explains Enrico Moretti.

The aim – without major effort and for a reasonable cost – is to obtain a transparent ESG view of the company and to make use of state subsidies. ESG ratings pinpoint areas in which it should be possible to make quick improvements, i.e. achieve quick wins. Ratings also help companies prepare for discussions with banks, can kickstart internal sustainability projects, and empower senior management with valuable knowledge.

ESG ratings – a competitive advantage

The ESG ratings offered by the ESG and Sustainability consulting center are particularly important if companies want to make early preparations and define a roadmap for professional reporting in keeping with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which came into force in 2022. This is because in 2025, they will need to pull information together for CSRD reports scheduled for publication in 2026, by which point it will be possible for anybody to make cross-industry comparisons – until the next sustainability report in 2027. For many business leaders, it is therefore important that they are familiar with ESG industry ratings earlier, in 2024, and that they know the quick wins that will allow them to implement findings. This will also enable their companies to score well in 2025 and, after 2026, secure lasting reputation gains.

Provided all of the required 30 or so points of information are available, an ESG rating can usually be completed within a matter of days. The Steinbeis experts need roughly five consultation days for research, analysis, summarizing, and presentation. Depending on the sector of industry, client costs can be reduced by up to 80% by securing government subsidies.

The benefits of ESG ratings

  • Cost-effective entry into the ESG system
  • Clear results with minimal time or cost commitment
  • Quick wins that can be translated quickly into actions
  • Knowledge benefits for management
  • Professional preparation for bank discussions
  • A good starting point for sustainability projects
  • Industry benchmarks
  • Improved communication with employees
  • A solid basis for monitoring sustainability measures
  • A solid basis for sustainability reporting and active exchange with stakeholders


Enrico Moretti (author)
Steinbeis Entrepreneur
Steinbeis Consulting Center ESG and Sustainability (Öhringen)