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News | Standardizing CSR ratings

The Global Initiative for Sustainable Ratings (GISR) unveils a new program



Sustainable investment opportunities are in demand: in 2014, 20 trillion dollars were invested in companies around the world that strived to achieve ecological, social, or ethical targets in their business activities. To make the search for the right product easier, around 100 different organizations rate the CSR activities of publicly listed companies, based on a broad range of criteria. While sophisticated rating systems have been developed in recent years, standardized rating criteria have yet to be established. 


The Global Initiative for Sustainable Ratings (GISR) aims to close this gap and promote greater transparency in the realm of CSR ratings. In cooperation with representatives from companies, financial services providers, and non-profit organizations, the initiative launched the Center of Ratings Excellence (CORE) program at the beginning of April. CORE focuses on four areas: the first two are the principles for the assessment of CSR ratings that GISR developed, and an accreditation program for premium rating systems. In addition to this, a database offers an overview of the different research and rating organizations and makes it possible to compare individual assessments with one another. The research and development pillar focuses on developing and testing innovative rating tools. CORE’S fourth pillar is a training center of sorts, where interested parties can attend seminars or share ideas on specific topics and best practices in workshops. 
“Ratings are not only a helpful tool in assessing CSR activities. They are also decisive for the development of a sustainable financial market,” said Dr. Allen White, the founder and co-chairman of GISR. “In the coming years, GISR will play a central role in making ratings understandable, credible, and transparent.” In 2011, the initiative was founded with the aim of developing a global standard for the evaluation of corporate ecological, social, and ethical activities. The initiative receives support from companies such as AMD, Bayer, and Bosch, as well as from leading investment companies, among them Aviva, Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg L.P., and UBS.
More information on CORE can be found here