Morningstar

Illinois
Diversified Financials

Corprate Bias Ratings

Risk Level:

Rating - Danger
High Risk

Morningstar is a financial services firm headquartered in Chicago. It has not publicly terminated business relationships based on views or beliefs. By complying with Human Rights Campaign’s controversial demands, Morningstar increases the risk of dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. The company covers transgender-related medical costs for its employees and their children and provides specific sexual orientation and gender identity-based benefits. It also uses sex and gender ideology criteria in employee recruitment, vendor selection, marketing, and philanthropic support. Morningstar forces employees to undergo multiple ideological trainings and uses its reputation, corporate funds, and political influence to support controversial sex and gender ideologies, organizations, and legislation. Morningstar does not provide its employees with protections against viewpoint discrimination. The company provides provides a benefits package for employees which covers travel/lodging costs for an abortion. Morningstar utilizes ESG criteria for investing and has recently experienced discriminatory issues with its ESG reporting services related to biases against Israelis and Jews, triggering investigations into the firm. Morningstar offers potential clients advice on how to avoid certain industries, such as fossil fuels or firearms, in portfolios. The company advocates against state-level election integrity measures and is part of Glasgow's Net Zero Alliance. Morningstar discriminates against religious organizations in its charitable giving and supports and funds LGBTQ causes and organizations. For these reasons, Morningstar earns a High Risk rating.

Criteria
Risk Level
Rationale
Corporate Weaponization
Criteria

Has denied service to customers, suppliers, or vendors due to their political views or religious beliefs OR corporately boycotts, divests, or sanctions regions, people groups, or industries.

Risk Level
Rationale

Morningstar eceived a score of 100 on the 2023 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a political stakeholder group. The company recruits employees based on sexual identity issues. The company discriminates against vendors that do not promote divisive sex and gender policies, indicating it prioritizes sexual issues over merit (1)(2). Sustainalytics, the ESG reporting arm of Morningstar, received criticism in 2022 for its “Human Rights Radar” product, which an independent review found unfairly targeted Israeli businesses and investments relative to those in other high-risk regions (3)(4). Morningstar terminated the product, apologized, and took multiple steps to bolster its corporate transparency. The Texas Attorney General investigated Morningstar for this development (5). In July 2023, Morningstar reportedly removed the controversy tag from 19 companies that it had labeled as controversial for doing business in Israel and the West Bank, leaving the tag on 7 of the 26 companies it had previously labeled for this “controversy” (6). Morningstar offers advice and strategies for avoiding investments in industries such as fossil fuels and firearms (7)(8)(9). 

Criteria

Charitable giving (including employee matching programs) policies or practices discriminate against charitable organizations based on views or religious beliefs.

Risk Level
Rationale

Morningstar’s HRC CEI rating indicates the company will not donate to non-religious charities unless they embrace controversial sexual identity policies (1)(2). Morningstar uses Benevity, which disqualifies donations to religious organizations and partners with the SPLC, for its donation matching program (3).

Criteria

Employment policies fail to protect against discrimination based on political affiliation/views and/or religion.

Risk Level
Rationale

Morningstar’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company forces employees to attend multiple, controversial trainings on gender identity, sexual orientation, transgender issues, and divisive racial ideology. The company provides gender transition guidelines for its employees and a specific benefits guide with a comprehensive explanation of transgender services funded by the company (1)(2). Morningstar does not provide viewpoint protections for its employees (3).

Corporate Governance and Public Policy
Criteria

Uses corporate reputation to support ideological causes and/or organizations hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

Morningstar’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company agrees to allow a controversial stakeholder group focused on sexual identity issues to dictate marketing or advertising strategy (1)(2). By doing so, the company risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. The company is a member of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act (3). Its CEO signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, which includes a commitment to promote DEI through bias education training in the workplace (4). Morningstar’s blog has supported other CEOs for doing the same (5). Morningstar has joined the Civic Alliance, which opposes state-level election integrity bills (6). Morningstar is a signatory of the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance, committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 (7). Morningstar uses its reputation to advance LGBTQ causes, including publishing ideological blog posts (8)(9).

Criteria

Uses corporate funds to advance ideological causes, organizations, or policies hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

Morningstar provides a benefits package for employees which covers travel/lodging costs for an abortion (1). The company’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company covers transgender related costs for its employees and their children, including paid short-term leave, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, chest surgeries, genital surgeries, medical visits and lab monitoring, travel and lodging. Additionally, the company has pledged philanthropic support of at least one organization or event that promotes sex and gender ideology (2)(3). By allowing a political stakeholder group to dictate operations, the company increases health care costs and risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. The company is a corporate partner of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (4).

Criteria

Uses corporate political contributions for ideological, non-business purposes.

Risk Level
Rationale

Morningstar’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company publicly advocated for controversial sex and gender ideology through local, state or federal legislation or initiatives (1)(2). By allowing a political stakeholder group to dictate operations, the company risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders.

Morningstar does not operate a PAC or report on its lobbying at this time (1)(2).

All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
February 16, 2024

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