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CSR Press Release

Launch of the World's First Ratings and Analytics Platform for Impact Investing: 15 Pioneer Investors with $1.5 Billion in Impact Assets Declare Investment Preference for GIIRS-rated Funds and Companies

September 20, 2011: Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, New York

Submitted by: B Lab

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Ratings & Awards

Posted: Sep 20, 2011 – 12:23 PM EST

 

NEW YORK, Sep. 20 /CSRwire/ - Today B Lab announces at CGI the launch of GIIRS Ratings & Analytics, and the commitment of 15 GIIRS Pioneer Investors who declare as part of their impact investing strategy an investment preference for GIIRS-rated funds and companies.

GIIRS Impact Ratings provide investors for the first time with a comprehensive, comparable, and third party verified assessment of companies' and funds' social and environmental impact. The GIIRS Analytics platform gives investors uniquely powerful tools to analyze aggregated, verified and comparable data on the social and environmental impact of companies and funds across geography, sector, organizational maturity, and size. The launch of GIIRS Ratings & Analytics follows a successful global beta test with more than 200 companies across 30 countries from 25 leading impact investing funds (the GIIRS Pioneer Companies and Funds, respectively).

The GIIRS Pioneer Investors are a diverse group of global private equity investors and credit providers, including mainstream global financial institutions, foundations, family offices, leaders in social finance, and a multilateral development bank. They include: Annie E Casey Foundation, Armonia LLC, Calvert Foundation, Farm Capital Services LLC, Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Impact Investing Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank, J.P. Morgan, KL Felicitas Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Prudential Financial, Inc., The Rockefeller Foundation, RSF Social Finance, Skoll Foundation, and The Tony Elumelu Foundation. GIIRS expects to announce additional GIIRS Pioneer Investors in the coming months.

"These Pioneer Investors recognize that we can't build an industry for impact investments without credible, comparable metrics on impact," said Andrew Kassoy, co-founder of B Lab, the non-profit organization powering GIIRS. "GIIRS has the potential to catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars of sidelined investment capital to flow to the world’s most inspiring and talented entrepreneurs. These businesses demonstrably create high quality jobs that increase economic opportunity here and abroad."

GIIRS also announces today that three GIIRS Pioneer Funders - Deloitte, Prudential Financial, Inc., and The Rockefeller Foundation - have committed a combined $9 million in funding to accelerate industry adoption of the robust GIIRS Ratings & Analytics platform.

With the support of GIIRS Pioneer Investors and Funders, in five years GIIRS aims to provide Impact Ratings for more than 2,500 companies and over 350 funds, and to provide over 150 institutional and high net worth investors with the ability to benchmark social and environmental impact for the first time the same way financial performance is benchmarked today. By providing credible, comparable and verified impact ratings and creating a powerful analytics platform, GIIRS provides the needed capital markets infrastructure to drive $1 trillion toward impact investments in 10 years.

"The Inter-American Development Bank is committed to supporting entrepreneurs across Latin America and the Caribbean who show great potential to effect change in their societies," said IDB Executive Vice President Julie T. Katzman. "GIIRS Ratings & Analytics provides tools to clearly measure the impact of our investments in venture capital funds - both at the level of the fund and the individual company."

"Prudential is proud to be one of the GIIRS Pioneer Investors. We are also one of the first companies to have a devoted impact investment portfolio, reflecting our ongoing support of initiatives that provide positive, sustainable impact," said Ommeed Sathe, Director, Social Investments at Prudential. "Earlier this year we were lead investor in an innovative new technology platform to create an automated infrastructure to monitor impact investments. This and our groundbreaking work with GIIRS and B-Lab underscores our commitment to creating an investment infrastructure that will nurture the growth of the entire impact investing field."

GIIRS Pioneer Investors recognize that government and non-profits are necessary but insufficient to solve our most challenging social and environmental problems. As entrepreneurs around the world develop market-based solutions, they need investment capital to help them scale. Increasing interest in impact investing requires improved capital markets infrastructure, including generally accepted standards for defining, measuring, and comparing positive social and environmental impact. Without credible third party standards, there are significant barriers-to-scale including: a fragmented market where each investor defines impact differently, high due diligence and transaction costs, limited understanding by investors of how to manage for impact, and a weak policy environment due to a dearth of information. GIIRS helps remove these barriers to growth and attracts mainstream capital to the impact investment space.

About B Lab and GIIRS

B Lab is a US-based nonprofit dedicated to building a new sector of the economy that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. In pursuit of this vision, B Lab focuses on (i) developing the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS), a rating system that links private investment capital with for-profit social enterprises, (ii) establishing social and environmental performance standards for certifying B Corporations, and (iii) promoting a new corporate form for profit-based companies providing a public benefit. As of September 2011, there are over 450 Certified B Corporations from over 50 industries, representing a diverse multi-billion marketplace. For more information, visit http://www.bcorporation.net.

GIIRS is a comprehensive and transparent system for assessing the social and environmental impact of developed and emerging market companies and funds with a ratings and analytics approach analogous to Morningstar investment rankings and Capital IQ financial analytics. It seeks to spark the impact investment movement by providing a tool that is intended to change investor behavior and unlock the potential of this new asset class. GIIRS Ratings & Analytics will allow entrepreneurs, companies, and fund managers to better serve their customers, workers, and communities by raising capital from mission-aligned investors based on the social and  environmental impact of their underlying businesses or portfolio companies. For more information, visit http://www.giirs.org/.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.

This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

GIIRS Pioneer Investors

GIIRS Pioneer Investors declare their investment preference for GIIRS-rated funds and companies. They also commit to use GIIRS Ratings & Analytics to assess their impact investment portfolios, which total approximately $1.5 billion in impact assets under management. The GIIRS Pioneer Investors are:

Annie E Casey Foundation
Armonia, LLC
Calvert Foundation
Farm Capital Services, LLC
Gatsby Charitable Foundation
Impact Investing Foundation
Inter-American Development Bank
KL Felicitas Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

J.P. Morgan 
Prudential Financial, Inc.
The Rockefeller Foundation
RSF Social Finance 
Skoll Foundation
Tony Elumelu Foundation

GIIRS Pioneer Funders

GIIRS Pioneer Funders have committed a combined $9 million in funding to accelerate industry adoption of the GIIRS Ratings & Analytics platform and development of a robust technology platform, as well as additional products to accelerate the market, including a platform for public markets ratings. The GIIRS Pioneer Funders are:

Deloitte
Prudential Financial, Inc.
The Rockefeller Foundation

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Kassoy Co-Founder
Phone: 212.608.4150
Twitter: GIIRSratings

For more from this organization:

B Lab

 

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