by Laura Winninger, UNA-SNY Intern
In recent years, a growing number of impact investors, who seek to create social good or improve the health of the environment, as well as achieve financial returns, were facing major difficulties regarding the evaluation of their investments. Because a large number of organizations created their own “metrics”, criteria that indicate their social as well as environmental performance, the comparison between companies was limited.
In order to eliminate these evaluation differences The Rockefeller Foundation, Acumen Fund and B Lab initiated “Impact Reporting and Investment Standards” (IRIS) , which became an initiative of GIIN, the Global Impact Investing Network in 2009. These standards aim at creating a common language for organizations to assess and report on their social, financial and environmental performance as well as to enable comparison to other companies.
The framework of IRIS is based on six points – organization description, product description, financial performance, operational impact, product impact and glossary – which may be reported for the whole company or for a single product. Additionally, a set of sector- based metrics are provided for organizations that impact a particular sector.
Agriculture, environment, energy and water are among these metrics, the increasing importance of sustainability and green energy in businesses is once again approved – good news in the International Year of Sustainable Energy and for all those supporting the UNA-USA’s Energy Project.