Submitted by B Lab
B Lab announced today two important milestones for GIIRS Ratings & Analytics at the Investors Circle Fall Venture Fair (GIIRS, pronounced "gears," stands for Global Impact Investing Rating System). Fifteen investment funds have committed to GIIRS ratings, representing over $550 million in new capital targeting the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs across developed, emerging, and frontier markets. They join twenty-five previously-announced funds, bringing to forty the total number of GIIRS Pioneer Funds. Today, GIIRS is also releasing the first set of GIIRS Fund Impact Ratings for its original Pioneer Funds and Companies.
A key obstacle for entrepreneurs seeking capital to grow businesses that address social or environmental problems is to rigorously demonstrate their impact in a way that moves beyond anecdotes and inspires investor confidence. GIIRS Impact Ratings make available for the first time a comprehensive, comparable, and third party verified assessment of companies’ and funds’ social and environmental impact. GIIRS Ratings & Analytics was launched in September at the Clinton Global Initiative, following a successful global beta test with the first 25 GIIRS Pioneer Funds (http://www.giirs.org/for-funds/pioneer). More than 200 companies from these leading impact investing funds across 30 countries tested the GIIRS rating platform during the beta test.
The 15 new GIIRS Pioneer Funds represent a diverse range of investment vehicles that address the critical financing needs of entrepreneurs globally, ranging from early-stage equity to long-term debt funding. They include: Adobe Social Mezzanine Fund I LP, Bellwether Microfinance Fund, Catalyst Microfinance Investors, Greenmont Capital II, IIP India Health Fund I, India Financial Inclusion Fund, InReturn I, Investeco Sustainable Food Fund, L.P., Mergence I, Paradox Fund, Próspero Microfinanzas Fund, SJF III, SocialAlpha-Bastion, Vox Impact Investing Fund I, and WillowTree Fund. These GIIRS Pioneer Funds recognize that scaling the impact investing industry requires improved capital markets infrastructure, including generally accepted standards for defining, measuring, and comparing positive social and environmental impact. GIIRS will continue to announce additional GIIRS Pioneer Funds in the coming months.
GIIRS is also issuing the first Company and Fund Impact Ratings this month. Nine Pioneer Funds and 50 Companies have completed the rigorous GIIRS Ratings process and in doing so set themselves apart as bold leaders in the impact investing field, embracing common performance standards, increased transparency and accountability, and comprehensive impact assessment. In the coming months, the remainder of the original 25 Pioneer Funds and 200 Companies will complete the rating process. Ratings information will be available from rated companies and funds directly, and to subscribers of GIIRS Analytics, which is set to launch at the end of 2011.
“GIIRS Ratings & Analytics is inspired by a chorus of voices calling for capitalism to create long term value for both society and shareholders,” said Andrew Kassoy, co-founder with Jay Coen Gilbert and Bart Houlahan of B Lab, the non-profit organization developing GIIRS. “By providing greater market transparency, GIIRS will help to unlock hundreds of billions of dollars of sidelined investment capital to flow to the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs, who are addressing social and environmental challenges using the power of business.”
With the support of the GIIRS Pioneers, 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.
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/.
GIIRS Pioneer Funds
Below is a list of all new Pioneer Funds and Fund Managers
|Adobe Social Mezzanine Fund I, LP||Adobe Capital|
|Bellwether Microfinance Fund||Caspian Capital Partners|
|Catalyst Microfinance Investors||Catalyst Microfinance Investors|
|Greenmont Capital II||Greenmont Capital|
|IIP India Health Fund I||Impact Investment Partners|
|India Financial Inclusion Fund ||Caspian Capital Partners|
|InReturn I ||InReturn East Africa Fund|
|Investeco Sustainable Food Fund, L.P.||Investeco Capital|
|Mergence I ||Mergence|
|Paradox Fund||Vox Capital|
|Próspero Microfinanzas Fund ||Grassroots Capital and Bolivian Investment|
|SJF III ||SJF Ventures|
|Vox Impact Investing Fund I||Vox Capital|
|WillowTree Impact Investors||Willow Impact Investors|
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement to redefine success in business. It's vision is that one day all companies will compete not only to be the best in the world, but best for the world.
B Lab drives this systemic change through a number of interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations who lead this movement and make it easier to tell the difference between â€œgood companiesâ€ and good marketing; 2) passing benefit corporation legislation to create a new kind of corporation legally required to create value for society, not just shareholders; 3) helping investors invest for impact through use of the B Analytics data platform; and 4) helping businesses measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance through use of the B Impact Assessment as a free powerful educational tool.
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