September 05, 2013
Global Impact Investing Network Publishes Guide to ESG Metrics for Investors
by Robert Kropp
The Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) is a set of metrics designed to evaluate both
a corporation's financial performance and its environmental, social, and governance impacts.
The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), a
membership organization for impact investors, has published a guide for investors
seeking to utilize its Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS).
IRIS, which since 2009 has been
developed by the GIIN, provides metrics across industry sectors and geographical regions that
provide investors and fund managers with credible data about the social and environmental impacts
of their investments.
In 2011, when the first IRIS Data Report was published, a network
of investors wrote, “We believe that a common framework for social and environmental reporting is
necessary to reduce inefficiency, increase comparability, and facilitate performance benchmarking
and other analyses that support investment decision-making.”
“By aggregating performance
data from a diverse set of organizations receiving impact investment capital, the IRIS initiative
has demonstrated the early traction of the standards,” the letter continued. “Additionally, the
initial analyses included in the report concretely demonstrate the potential to establish an
expansive and compelling evidence base of impact investment performance.”
the signatories to the letter were representatives from the Calvert Foundation, Generation
Investment Management, and the National Community Investment Fund.
The new guide,
according to the GIIN, is designed to help investors and fund managers select and apply the more
than 400 social, environmental, and financial performance metrics from the IRIS catalog. “By using
IRIS metrics to measure and report their results, impact investors increase transparency,
credibility, and accountability for their own activities and for the market as a whole,” the
“Impact measurement is fast becoming a best practice in impact
investing, reflecting a shift in attitudes among investors who, as recently as a few years ago,
often saw social and environmental performance measurement as optional,” said Luther Ragin, Jr.,
CEO of the GIIN. “We are particularly pleased to see so many investors make use of the standardized
metrics in IRIS, which increase credibility and enable important analyses such as performance
SRI World Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.