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Title:NEWS & EVENTS > Press releases
Date of publishing:May 06, 2011
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NEWS & EVENTS > Press releases

6 November 2012

Quality standard for responsible investment research re-launched with broader scope

The global voluntary quality standard for responsible investment research, formerly known as CSRR-QS®, gets its global re-launch today under the brand-new name ARISTA®. The ARISTA® standard is increasingly recognised by investors as a mark of quality for responsible investment research. 

ARISTA® is the Responsible Investment Research Standard, developed in response to the demands from global investors and companies for responsible investment (RI) research groups to incorporate the key principles of quality, integrity, transparency and accountability into their research processes. The new version of the voluntary quality standard has a broader scope of certification and covers a much wider range of responsible investment services and products. The standard is being globally re-launched as ARISTA® to raise its profile amongst responsible investment research groups and investors around the world. In particular ARISTA® addresses the key elements of quality, managing the ESG research supply chain, and overall research group performance – elements which are largely missing from existing codes in this field.  The standard uses a fully transparent methodology and calibrated and comparable assessment tools, each of which have been expanded to reflect the broader range of RI products now available. 

Moreover, ARISTA® provides efficient control and audit systems, which are increasingly a requirement of  international regulatory frameworks, and connects with the steadily growing trend to include independent certification as a requirement of requests for proposal.

ARISTA® covers all aspects of RI research, including the organisational and managerial aspects of the research group, its analytical processes and the details of its assessment methods.

ARISTA® aims to:

  • stimulate quality, integrity and the transparency within the field of RI research;
  • encourage research groups to embrace organisational structures that ensure their independence, objectivity and professionalism;
  • stimulate RI research to adopt thorough quality management systems and foster continuous improvement;
  • increase accountability through the implementation of audit, assurance and verifiability mechanisms.

So far, ten leading Responsible Investment Research groups from more than fifteen countries have been certified against the ARISTA® standard, including EIRIS, Vigeo, EthiFinance, imug, oekom research, GES, Ecodes, CAER, Greeneye and KOCSR, with Ecovalores and Inrate preparing to follow their example.

ARISTA® is an open standard available to all RI research groups from around the world that meet the certification criteria.  

Currently owned and managed by ARISE® (the Association for Responsible Investment Services), the development of the voluntary quality standard originally started in 2002 with the support of the European Commission. The project was driven by the substantive input from stakeholders including European social investing forums (SIF’s), the RI community and major auditing groups.

The initial phase of development saw the launch of the first quality standard (CSRR-QS® 1.X), which was adopted by several European RI research groups. The second stage (the CSRR-QS® 2.X series) further refined the audits and tools and brought global distribution.  

As the responsible investment quality standard celebrates its tenth birthday, the latest version of the standard has been awarded a new name: ARISTA 3.0.® The renewed voluntary quality standard has enlarged its certification scope and now covers a much wider range of services and products. 

ARISTA® is designed to build confidence in responsible investment research. All audits are conducted by external auditors and an independent Certification Council in charge of the final certification decisions.

Herwig Peeters, President of ARISE:

“There is a growing need for calibrated templates reflecting the content and value of RI products. There is a clear demand for efficient check & audit systems by regulatory frameworks on a national and international scale. ARISTA® provides an invaluable comparative instrument for professional users and guarantees the quality and integrity of RI ratings”

François Passant, Executive Director of Eurosif:

“Responsible Investment research and ESG ratings have become an incontrovertible element of the responsible investment value chain. The launch of Arista 3.0®is therefore an essential initiative that will further foster quality and transparency in the sector. Further building on the previous version, Arista 3.0®enlarges the scope of its certification, which we believe will continue to strengthen the recognition of the standard and provide an even stronger basis for comparability of offerings for users.”

Download the Press Release 6 November 2012 (136 kB), English version


30 March 2009

Seven leading corporate sustainability research organisations from across Europe have been certified against a new international Voluntary Quality Standard (VQS) for Corporate Sustainability and Responsible Investment research.

Launched by the Association of Independent Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Research (AI CSRR) the robust VQS has been developed to drive high quality research and analysis for organisations in the field. 
The Standard is a direct response to growing investor and company demand for research groups to incorporate the key principles of integrity, transparency and accountability into their research on the environmental, social, governance (ESG) and ethical performance of companies. It is designed to enhance quality within the research process of each provider without redetermining and dictating the precise research output.
So far, leading corporate sustainability and responsible investment research groups in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK have met the requirements of the Standard, with more to follow. These groups include Ecodes, EIRIS, EthiFinance, GES, imug, Oekom, and Vigeo. All those receiving the Certificate confirming their adherence to the Standard have had their audits certified by an independent Certification Council.
The VQS assessment and auditing process requires research groups to:

  • focus on continuous quality improvements and develop an action plan to drive quality across all research areas
  • develop and implement best practice and codes of conduct to ensure independence, integrity, probity, transparency and accountability within each research group as well as in the research process
  • ensure the robustness of each group’s research processes and embed continuous monitoring of quality in their work
  • reassure clients and other stakeholders that research groups ‘do what they say they do’
  • publish an externally verified Transparency Matrix that reveals the data necessary to reinforce trust and confidence in each research group’s methodology

The launch of the new VQS follows a European Commission funded development process which included consultation with key stakeholders including investors, civil society, and responsible investment sector experts, led by AI CSRR.
AI CSRR welcomes applications from other research groups who wish to achieve certification.

Sue Bird Sue Bird, Policy Co-ordinator - Local Employment Development and Corporate Social Responsibility at the European Commission, said ‘The completion of the CSRR-QS 2.1 Voluntary Quality Standard for CSR research comes at a key time in the development of the interface between companies and socially-responsible investors. More than ever, investors need quality information on which to take decisions in relation to companies' CSR activities, and the current economic and financial crisis sharpens the need for ethics and responsible practices in and by businesses. I am confident that CSRR-QS 2.1 will make a valuable contribution to furthering SRI and CSR’.
Matt Christensen Matt Christensen, Executive Director at Eurosif, the European Sustainable Investment Forum, said ‘We welcome the new VQS as a key initiative to further enhance the credibility of the corporate sustainability and responsible investment research sector. The Standard will help to ensure that research groups practice what they preach when demanding corporate and investor transparency. It will help them to remain focused on delivering the quality research that is needed in the rapidly evolving world of responsible investment’.
James Gifford James Gifford, Executive Director of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment said ‘The principles of integrity, probity, transparency and accountability have never been so important. The development of quality standards should help further increase confidence in ESG research providers at a time when openness and accountability are valued by an ever increasing number of responsible investors’.
Herwig Peeters Herwig Peeters, the AI CSRR’s Chairman said ‘This pioneering new Standard is a celebration of excellence and will push research quality to the highest levels. The Standard has been specifically developed to promote quality in a diversity of research approaches.  The VQS will fast become the international Standard which investors around the world can trust. We congratulate those research groups who have already achieved the VQS and hope that many more will, in time, go on to achieve it’.

Download the Press Release 30 March 2009 (116 kB), English version


2 November 2004

New body launched to champion quality CSR research

Corporate Sustainability Research (CSR) organisations from across Europe have come together to form the Association of Independent Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Research (AI CSRR). 

The corporate sustainable and responsible research sector continues to expand due to increasing popular interest throughout Europe.  At the same time pressure on CSR research groups to raise quality and be transparent and professional has grown.  AI CSRR, therefore, has been created to develop and promote high professional standards for organisations in the field.

Matt Christensen, Executive Director at Eurosif, Europe’s Social Investment Forum said "Both the Voluntary Quality Standard and the launch of a trade association of the Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Research Groups are milestones for the sector in Europe and beyond. The work of AI CSRR is a splendid and welcome supplement to the Eurosif Transparency Guidelines for investment funds".

Herwig Peeters, the Association’s Chairman said,“In the fast changing world of CSR research co-operation on a sector level and engagement with companies and asset managers is essential.  Together, we will develop better tools and understanding and improve the social impact of SRI.”

Transparency, openness and accountability have always been central to the CSR agenda; the formation of AI CSRR continued this tradition.  AI CSRR will provide the independent verification needs the sector requires in order to maintain and enhance its quality and credibility through the management of the Voluntary Quality Standard scheme (CSRR-QS 1.0®, or “The Standard”).

The Standard has had the financial and strategic support of the European Commission.  Dominique Bé, deputy head of The Employment and Social Affairs DG of the Commission, said CSRR-QS 1.0® will contribute in furthering the CSR debate in Europe. It will help address the issue of accountability of CSR analysis and enhance the leverage effect of SRI. It is also a significant step towards more convergence and transparency in the field of SRI. The European Commission is pleased to have provided support to the development of this standard.”

Download the Press Release 2 November 2004 (57 kB), English version