September 2011 - socentlaw



Today at the Clinton Global Initative, B Lab announces 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. Andrew Kassoy will be on a panel at 3:45 EDT Tuesday entitled Financing Inclusive Jobs: Impact Investing and the Triple Bottom Line, moderated by Adam Davidson (NPR’s Planet Money), with Cheryl Dorsey (Echoing Green) and Christina Leijonhufvud (J.P. Morgan). Please tune-in to watch this panel live as Andrew discusses the GIIRS Launch and Pioneer Investor commitment – live-streaming will be available here.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, Prudential Financial, Inc., The Rockefeller Foundation, RSF Social Finance, Skoll Foundation,The Tony Elumelu Foundation and W.K. Kellogg 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.


Photo: Buck Forester