B-Lab, an organization in Pennsylvania and New York that promotes the establishment of for-profit “Benefit Corporations” which serve social and public benefit purposes, has established a Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS), which B-Lab says, “aims to drive investment capital toward impactful businesses.”
“GIIRS ratings provide investors with standardized impact metrics for an emerging asset class, helping fund the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. GIIRS ratings are like S&P ratings but for [social] impact instead of risk,” B-Lab stated in its 2011 Annual Report.
The GIIRS Rating System is expected to help drive capital to socially responsible businesses, including Social Enterprises and newly formed Benefit Corporations, which are for-profit corporations formed for social or public benefit corporate purposes. See our previous post about New York’s and other states’ new laws authorizing Benefit Corporations, a new form of corporate entity. See also our post about the Social Enterprise/ Benefit Corporation Movement in the U.S. and internationally.
Some of the expected benefits of GIIRS for social enterprises are described on B-Lab’s website:
After a successful Beta launch in the Spring of 2011 with approximately 200 companies and 25 funds, according to the B-Lab Annual Report, the GIIRS Rating System was officially launched at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York.
As described by the Clinton Global Initiative, “GIIRS Impact Ratings provides an assessment of companies’ and funds’ social and environmental impact, while GIIRS Analytics provides a subscription-based analytics tool that enables industry-wide benchmarking, portfolio management, and due diligence screening.”
The history and growth of “Impact Investing” was explained in a recent article by the CS Monitor:
Expected Impact of GIIRS
The committed goals of GIIRS, as pledged to and reported by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), include:
At Launch GIIRS was capitalized with an estimated $19,000,000, according to CGI.
As announced by CGI at its launch, among the sponsors of the GIIRS are:
The Rockefeller Foundation
Inter-American Development Bank
Deloitte & Touche LLP
Capricorn Management LLC
FARM Capital Services
RSF Social Finance
The Skoll Foundation
The Gatsby Charitable Foundation
KL Felicitas Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation
For more information about the GIIRS Rating System, see its website.
See also information about GIIRS provided by the Clinton Global Initiative