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Title:THE PROJECT >History/background
Date of publishing:May 06, 2011
Category:Other content
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THE PROJECT >History/background

This quality standard has been drawn up by a number of independent Responsible Investment Research (RIR) Groups mostly working for customers in the financial services industry. They are thus supporting and servicing Socially Responsible Investments (SRI). The establishment of the standard was initiated with the support of the European Commission (EC), DG Employment and Social Affairs as the outcome of two project phases.

Phase 1: “Developing a Voluntary Quality for SRI Research” (2002-2003).

  • The quality standard was developed in the light of the European Commission’s aim to build partnerships for the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • CSR was seen as a contribution to achieve the strategic goal of becoming, by 2010, “The most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”.
  • Both the Green Paper (“Promoting a European framework for corporate social responsibility”) and the EC’s Communication (“Corporate social responsibility, a business contribution to sustainable development”) call for “More convergence and transparency of SRI rating methodologies”, request that “Quality and objectivity should be ensured, not only on the basis of the information submitted by the management, but also by the stakeholders” and suggest that “External audit and internal quality procedures should be used to assure accuracy in the research and assessment processes”.

Phase 2: “Implementing and Disseminating the Voluntary Quality Standard for Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility Research (CSRR-QS)” (2004-2006)

  • This phase aimed at discussing and amending the standard and its instruments with stakeholders and experts in the field of SRI and CSR research. Furthermore the quality standard and the Transparency Matrix were piloted within participating RIR Groups and updated versions of the main documents (CSRR-QS 2.1® and CSRR-TM 2.0®) were provided.
  • A sector-specific verification system was set up in order to offer solutions to all legal and technical aspects regarding the certification. In addition, a guidance document for completing the Transparency Matrix, and an Instruction Manual for proving conformity with the final verifiable saw birth.

The quality standard for Responsible Investment Research (RIR) was:

  • First approved on 2003-10-24 as version CSRR-QS 1.0®;
  • Internally piloted and updated on 2005-09-30 as version CSRR-QS 1.1®;
  • Externally piloted and adapted after stakeholder consultation and expert advice, and approved on 2006-03-31 as version CSRR-QS 2.1®;
  • Further improved and corrected during the phase 1 surveillance audits, executed in 2007 and approved on 2008-04-15 as version CSRR-QS 2.1®;
  • Evaluated and updated in the course of 2011 and 2012, resulting in ARISTA 3.0®. The renewed quality standard has been re-launched on the 6th of November 2012.