An Introduction to Responsible Investment: Policy, Structure and Process

Last updated: 2019

Guidance on how an investor can develop a responsible investment policy.

Use this resource to:

  • Governance: Develop investment policies and incorporate sustainability considerations into the investment process.

GISD Sector-Specific SDG-related Metrics for Corporate Reporting

Last updated: 2021

This report recommends a set of sector-specific, SDG-related metrics by drawing on metrics from existing standard setters and benchmarks.

The Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) is a group of 30 large investment firms convened by the United Nations Secretary General. The GISD sits within the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and aims to scale-up long-term finance and investment in sustainable development.

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: The report suggests SDGs and related sustainability topics for eight sectors. Organisations can consider their sector and check whether the SDGs and related sustainability topics suggested are applicable to their own business.
  • Measure sustainability performance: The report suggests SDG-related metrics for eight sectors. Organisations can consider measuring the metrics specific to their sector.
  • Disclose: Organisations can include the recommended SDG-related metrics in their disclosure to stakeholders.

GISD Recommendations on SDG-related Disclosure

Last updated: 2021

This short guidance recommends an approach to SDG-related disclosure based on the approach set out in the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

The Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) is a group of 30 large investment firms convened by the United Nations Secretary General. The GISD sits within the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and aims to scale-up long-term finance and investment in sustainable development.

Use this resource to:

  • Disclose: Organisations can use the recommendations to guide their disclosure related to SDGs.

SASB Standards

Last updated: n/a

Reporting standards that provide industry-specific disclosure topics and associated metrics that measure performance against 26 General Issue Categories (or sustainability topics). Management or mismanagement of performance on these sustainability topics may create, preserve or erode value for the typical company in a given industry over time.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: Identify the relevant industry standard to find industry-specific topics and accounting metrics. These standards can be a useful input when identifying which sustainability topics to disclose.
  • Measure sustainability performance: Identify metrics from the standards. The standards themselves provide guidance on selecting metrics to report. Using standardised metrics helps the organisation and its stakeholders compare performance with others.
  • Estimate value created: SASB evaluates sustainability topics for inclusion in the Standards by assessing whether a given topic is reasonably likely to materially affect the financial condition, operating performance, or risk profile of a typical company within an industry. Collecting information on these metrics provides insight that can inform estimation of value to the organisation.
  • Disclose: Report to providers of financial capital on sustainability topics that are likely to affect how value is created, sustained or eroded for the organisation over the short-, medium-, and long-term.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Assets use the measurement and disclosure standards and guidance for organisations, and investors can provide capacity to help adherence.

EU Taxonomy

Last updated: 2020

Regulation that sets out performance thresholds for organisations to classify their economic activities as “sustainable” according to European policy objectives.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Identify sustainability topics: Find the economic activities that correspond to the organisation and review what the taxonomy says about likely impacts on sustainability. This can be an input into identifying sustainability topics to measure. This regulation is based on research connecting economic activities to likely significant impacts on six environmental objectives. Currently, research related to objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation are most developed.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Identify: Find the economic activities that correspond to the financial institution’s activities and review what the taxonomy says about likely impacts on sustainability. This can be an input into identifying sustainability topics to measure. This regulation is based on research connecting economic activities to likely significant impacts on six environmental objectives. Currently, research related to objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation are most developed.
  • Assess: Assess whether underlying assets are sustainable. Underlying assets that fall under the taxonomy regulation will report on the portion of their revenue, capital expenditure and operational expenditure that are ‘taxonomy aligned’, and therefore considered a ‘sustainable investment’ according EU policy objectives.
  • Set targets: Set objectives for a portion of the portfolio to be ‘taxonomy-aligned’. Regulation provides investors with a set of performance thresholds that have to be met for an underlying asset to be viewed as operating sustainably in relation to one the EU’s six environmental objectives. Underlying assets that are ‘taxonomy aligned’ are generating sustainable outcomes and are therefore also ‘Benefiting stakeholders’.

TCFD recommendations

Last updated: 2017

Guidance that contains disclosure recommendations for information on the material financial impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities, including those related to the global transition to a lower-carbon economy. The TCFD recommendations are structured around the four pillars of Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets.

For organisations

Use this resource to:

  • Disclose: Follow recommendations to structure climate-related financial disclosures. Other voluntary standards can be used in conjunction with TCFD recommendations.

For investors and financial institutions

Use this resource to:

  • Disclose: Follow recommendations to structure climate-related financial disclosures. Other voluntary standards can be used in conjunction with TCFD recommendations.

Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations

A set of harmonised metrics developed by subject matter experts and impact management practitioners, that have been agreed upon by Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and other private sector partners.

In March 2021, HIPSO together with IRIS+ have published the Joint Impact Indicators, a harmonised set of basic indicators that are available for the impact investment community at large. Further harmonisation work continues: work is underway to map various investor metric sets and corporate disclosure standards, with a view to achieving global consistency. E.g. IRIS+-GRI, B Lab-GRI, HIPSO-IRIS+.

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Select from a catalogue of metrics specifically designed for Development Finance Institutions.

Impact Classification System

Last updated: 2021

Forthcoming: Tool for investors to publicly classify the impact of their portfolios. The tool uses Impact Classes as a means to segment a portfolio by type of impact on two axes: the impact of underlying assets (A, B or C) and investor’s contribution. Users can also express the portfolio’s contribution to SDGs.

Use this resource to:

  • Assess: Assess the actual or expected performance of a portfolio of investments using classification.
  • Disclose: Publicly disclose the performance of a portfolio of investments using classification.

CDP Financial Services Disclosure System

Last updated: 2021

Tools for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. The CDP Financial Services Disclosure System allows for a baseline assessment of climate-related risks, opportunities and impacts in financing portfolios; and of how banks, asset owners, asset managers and insurance companies are preparing for the net-zero carbon transition.

Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR)

Last updated: 2019

Regulation that sets out sustainability disclosure requirements for financial market participants within the EU. It includes disclosure requirements for firm-level as well as for investment products. Disclosure requirements cover mitigation of negative impacts termed ‘principal adverse impacts’ and performance on sustainable investment objectives.

Use this resource to:

  • Disclose: Review regulation for disclosure requirements for financial market participants in the EU