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November 13, 2012

Quality Standard for ESG Research Launched
    by Robert Kropp

The Association for Responsible Investment Services re-launches the Responsible Investment Research Standard as ARISTA to increase awareness of the standard and to meet a growing demand for comparability among sustainable investment research firms.

SocialFunds.com -- Ten leading sustainable investment research firms, all of which are members of the Association for Responsible Investment Services (ARISE), have signed onto the re-launched ARISTA 3.0, a voluntary quality standard for the industry. None of the current members are headquartered in the US, but at least two—EIRIS and oekom research—should be familiar to readers of SocialFunds.com.

Formerly known as CSRR-QS, ARISTA sets out Eleven Commitments to which signatories agree to adhere. The commitments have been expanded beyond the previous standard to increase the focus of research firms on corporate management of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors in the supply chain, among other enhancements.

The new standard is designed to stimulate quality, integrity, and the transparency within the field of sustainable investment research; encourage research groups to embrace organizational structures that ensure their independence, objectivity, and professionalism; stimulate sustainable investment research to adopt thorough quality management systems and foster continuous improvement; and increase accountability through the implementation of audit, assurance, and verifiability mechanisms.

"Responsible investment research and ESG ratings have become an incontrovertible element of the responsible investment value chain," said François Passant of Eurosif, the European network of national sustainable investment forums. "The launch of Arista 3.0 is therefore an essential initiative that will further foster quality and transparency in the sector."

"There is a growing need for calibrated templates reflecting the content and value of responsible investment products", said Herwig Peeters, President of ARISE. "There is a clear demand for efficient check and audit systems by regulatory frameworks on a national and international scale. ARISTA provides an invaluable comparative instrument for professional users and guarantees the quality and integrity of responsible investment ratings."

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