(Bloomberg) -- The steady stream of environmental pledges by mining companies around the world appears to be having the desired effect -- at least in terms of perceptions.

An environmental, social and governance rating of the industry moved into positive territory last quarter from a negative reading in the previous three months, according to London-based Alva, which assigns scores based on publicly available content from social media to NGO research.

Newmont Corp. retained the lead in the 20-company index followed by De Beers, “with these companies’ proactive commitments significantly outweighing sporadic instances of ESG negativity,” according to an Alva presentation.

Rio Tinto Group improved its score but continued to be weighed down by explosions that damaged two Aboriginal Australian sites. Another iron-ore giant, Vale SA, fell to last place as it tries to reach a compensation deal for the Brumadinho dam disaster in Brazil. Community relations remained mining’s most negative topic, while greenhouse gas emissions and energy management scored positively.

Companies around the world, particularly raw-material producers, are stepping up sustainability efforts amid heightened scrutiny by the general public and investors. ESG and value-focused exchange traded funds recorded net inflows of $89 billion in 2020, almost three times 2019 levels, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

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