The Sustainability Ratings Industrial Complex: Breaking the Hold

Jul 6, 2011 8:52 PM ET

The TakeAway: The recent launch of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings seeks to bring some order, quality, and accountability to the diverse and booming growth industry of sustainability ratings and rankings—also a topic of the online "SustyChat3” among experts, occurring this week on the OpenEyeWorld platform.

Today we celebrate another “movement milestone”, one of several occurring during the month of June: the long-awaited launch of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR), announced at a Washington, D.C. briefing held June 9th by the nonprofit groups Tellus Institute and Ceres.  GISR’s purpose, according to the press release, is to “create and bring to widespread adoption a single standard for rating the sustainability performance of companies.”  GISR will operate as an independent, non-commercial framework that “builds on the current system’s strengths and, corrects its shortcomings, thereby unleashing the full power of ratings to drive sustainability deep into capital, procurement and consumer markets.”

That announcement coincides with year-long efforts of SustainAbility, a think tank and strategic consultancy, to examine and improve the corporate social responsibility (CSR) / sustainability ratings space, and sustainability expert Bill Baue’s work to spark conversation among experts about the value, role, and improvements needed to link ratings to performance improvement and impact.  "Corporate sustainability ratings are trending as a hot issue in the CSR space, so they're a perfect focal topic for the third Sustainability Chat on OpenEyeWorld,” said Baue.  Baue, a MurnPost Co-Founder and ad hoc Editor, is curator of the two-day “SustyChat3” on Sustainability Ratings.  It's happening today and tomorrow at OpenEyeWorld, a commercial platform for online sustainability expert engagement.  Representatives of both SustainAbility and GISR are moderating one of the three SustyChat3 dialogues.


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