Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ResourcesLinks to external ESG resources


CDP: An international, not-for-profit organization providing a global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage, and share vital environmental information. The group works with market forces to motivate companies to disclose their impacts on the environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them.

Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change: A group that brings together business leaders from major U.K. and international companies who believe that there is an urgent need to develop new and longer-term policies for addressing climate change; they aim to work with politicians to create the policy environment for a low-carbon future.

Global Framework for Climate Risk Disclosure: A tool created by 14 institutional Investors and other organizations to encourage standardized corporate climate risk disclosure and to help investors analyze and compare companies.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol: The most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, a decade-long partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, is working with businesses, governments, and environmental groups around the world to build a new generation of credible and effective programs for tackling climate change.

Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC): A forum for collaboration between pension funds and other institutional Investors on issues related to climate change. The IIGCC seeks to promote better understanding of the implications of climate change among members and other institutional Investors; encourage companies and markets in which IIGCC members invest to address any material risks and opportunities to their businesses associated with climate change; and advocates for a shift to a lower carbon economy.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):  Established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to assess available scientific, technical, and socioeconomic information relevant to understanding climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. As of early 2008, the group has produced four assessment reports on climate change. The reports provide a comprehensive assessment of the current state of knowledge on climate change.

Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR): A network of institutional Investors and financial institutions dedicated to promoting better understanding of the financial risks and investment opportunities posed by climate change. The INCR was launched at the first Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations in November 2003 and now includes more than 50 institutional investors that collectively manage over US$4 trillion in assets.

Corporate Governance

European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE): A “laboratory for sustainable investment'” a multidisciplinary research network founded by researchers with established track records in the academic domain and in practice. ECCE is an internationally oriented research consortium devoted to delivering top-ranked research in the fields of corporate engagement and sustainable finance. ECCE helps practitioners and scholars understand how businesses and financial markets can promote sustainable development by considering ESG issues.

Global Corporate Governance Forum: A multidonor trust fund co-founded by the World Bank Group and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to promote global, regional, and local initiatives that aim to improve the institutional framework and practices of corporate governance. The forum — housed in the joint IFC/World Bank Corporate Governance and Capital Markets Department — promotes sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction within the framework of agreed international development targets.

International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN): An investor network organized to exchange views and information about corporate governance issues internationally, examine corporate governance principles and practices, develop and encourage adherence to corporate governance standards and guidelines, and promote good corporate governance. ICGN members presently control more than US$10 trillion in assets. 

Fair Trade

European Fair Trade Association (EFTA): An association of 11 fair trade importers in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom). EFTA is based in the Netherlands and has Dutch Articles of Association. EFTA gained formal status in 1990 and aims to support its member organizations in their work and to encourage them to cooperate and coordinate their efforts. It facilitates the exchange of information and networking, creates conditions for labor division, and identifies and develops joint projects. EFTA organizes meetings of the members (on food, handicrafts, marketing, managers), circulates relevant information to them, and maintains a database of EFTA suppliers and their products, called Fairdata EFTA. It also has an office in Brussels responsible for the execution of the Fair Procura project (funded by the EU) intended to make public authorities and institutional buyers local actors of sustainable development.

Fair Trade Federation (FTF): An association of Canadian and U.S. fair trade wholesalers, importers, and retailers. The organization links its members to fair trade producer groups while acting as a clearinghouse for information on fair trade and providing resources and networking opportunities to its members.

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) International: An association of three producer networks and 20 national labeling initiatives that promote and market the Fairtrade Certification Mark in their respective countries. The FLO labeling system is the largest and most widely recognized standard-setting and certification body for fair trade products. It regularly inspects and certifies producer organizations in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, encompassing approximately one million families of farmers and workers.

Human Rights

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre:  A clearinghouse of information concerning human rights issues. The organization’s website provides links to a wide range of materials published by NGOs (non-governmental organizations); companies and business organizations; UN, ILO, and other intergovernmental organizations; governments and courts; policy experts and academics; social investment analysts; and journalists. The website is updated hourly with news and reports about companies’ human rights impacts worldwide — positive and negative. The site covers more than 3,600 companies across 180 countries. Topics include discrimination, environment, poverty and development, labor, access to medicines, health and safety, security, and trade.

International Labour Organization (ILO): The tripartite United Nations agency that brings together governments, employers, and workers from its member states to promote decent work standards throughout the world. ILO’s main focus is to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection, and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues. The ILO hosts the International Labour Conference in Geneva each June. At the conference, conventions and recommendations are drafted and adopted by majority decision, which sets international labor standards covering a broad spectrum of labor-related subjects; together, they are sometimes referred to as the International Labour Code. Adoption of a convention by the International Labour Conference becomes a treaty in international law when a specified number of governments has ratified the law. As of the 2008 report, there are 185 ILO conventions.

Social Accountability International (SAI): Organization whose mission is to promote human rights for workers around the world. SAI has established SA8000, a comprehensive and flexible system for managing ethical workplace conditions throughout global supply chains. SAI works with companies, consumer groups, NGOs, workers and trade unions, and local governments as well as a network of agencies accredited for SA8000 auditing. The purpose is to ensure that workers are treated according to basic human rights principles.

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR): On 10 December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration contains internationally accepted standards for human rights. Although the UNDHR applies to governments as well as business, the general principles related to business practices are as follows:

  • Safe and healthy working conditions
  • Freedom of association
  • Nondiscrimination in personnel and hiring practices
  • No forced or child labor
  • Rights to basic health, education, and housing (if operations are located in areas where these are not provided)
  • Respect for existing international guidelines and standards for the use of force
  • Protecting the economic livelihood of local communities
  • Contributing to the public debate about matters that affect a Company’s operations, employees, customers, and communities where the Company operates

Some companies are signatories to the UNDHR and, therefore, pledge to support each of the general principles.

Investment Research and Reporting

Corporate Reporting Dialogue (CRD): Introduced by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), brings together organizations that have significant international influence on the corporate reporting landscape. By working together towards a common goal, participants aim to respond to market calls for better alignment and reduced burden in corporate reporting.

The CRD was officially launched at the ICGN (International Corporate Governance Network) Annual Conference in Amsterdam on 17 June 2014. The organizations participating in the CRD are all involved with the issuing of international standards and frameworks. They share a common interest in Integrated Reporting and in improving the quality and consistency of global corporate reporting to provide increased certainty for businesses and investors alike. The CRD aims to promote greater coherence, consistency and comparability between corporate reporting frameworks, standards and related requirements, leading to improved efficiency and effectiveness.

Enhanced Analytics Initiative (EAI): An international collaboration between asset owners and asset managers aimed at encouraging better investment research, especially research that takes into account the impact of nonfinancial issues on long-term investment. The EAI currently represents total assets under management of US$2.4 trillion. The EAI offers research providers incentives to compile better and more detailed analysis of extrafinancial issues within mainstream research. EAI members have agreed to allocate a minimum of 5 percent of their broker commissions on the basis of how well brokers integrate analysis of extrafinancial factors and intangibles into their mainstream (sell-side) research. Such factors typically include corporate governance, human capital management, value creation or destruction during mergers and acquisitions, and corporate performance on material environmental factors, such as climate change.

Global Reporting Initiative: The product of more than 1,000 organizations and thousands of related stakeholders who have developed a sustainability reporting framework by which companies may measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance. The framework is adaptable to different sectors and countries, lending consistency to reporting of ESG-related information.

Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Reporting Framework: The reporting framework is made up of the sustainability reporting guidelines, sector supplements, and indicator protocols. Together these are known as the Sustainability Reporting Framework. The components contain reporting principles, guidance, and standard disclosures that are generally applicable to all businesses, nonprofits, public agencies, and other organizations large and small.

Integrated Reporting (IR): A process founded on integrated thinking that results in a periodic integrated report by an organization about value creation over time and related communications regarding aspects of value creation. An integrated report is a concise communication about how an organization's strategy, governance, performance and prospects, in the context of its external environment, lead to the creation of value in the short, medium and long term. IR aims to:

  • Improve the quality of information available to providers of financial capital to enable a more efficient and productive allocation of capital.
  • Promote a more cohesive and efficient approach to corporate reporting that draws on different reporting strands and communicates the full range of factors that materially affect the ability of an organization to create value over time.
  • Enhance accountability and stewardship for the broad base of capitals (financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and relationship, and natural) and promote understanding of their interdependencies.
  • Support integrated thinking, decision-making and actions that focus on the creation of value over the short, medium and long term.

International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC): A global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession and NGOs. Together, this coalition shares the view that communication about value creation should be the next step in the evolution of corporate reporting. The IIRC mission is to enable Integrated Reporting to be embedded into mainstream business practice in the public and private sectors.

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB): Aims to develop and disseminate sustainability accounting standards that help publicly-listed corporations disclose material factors in compliance with SEC requirements. Through these standards, along with associated education and outreach, SASB is working to increase the usefulness of information available to investors, and improve corporate performance on the environmental, social, and governance issues most likely to impact value.

Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network: An analyst network that supports more than 150 North American social investment research analysts from 30 investment firms, research providers, and affiliated Investor groups. Social research analysts evaluate corporate policies and performance on various issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR includes such issues as environment, health and safety, diversity and human resources policies, and human rights and the supply chain.

United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI): A global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector. Over 160 institutions, including banks, insurers, and fund managers, work with UNEP to understand the affects of environmental and social considerations on financial performance.

United Nations Global Compact: An international initiative that encourages companies to collaborate with UN agencies and others “to support universal environmental and social principles.” The compact is voluntary and aims to spread the incorporation of 10 principles into global business activities and to garner support for UN goals. The 10 principles define actions for businesses covering human rights, environment, and anticorruption.

Sustainable Investing

Ceres: A national network of investors, environmental organizations, and other public interest groups working with companies and investors to address sustainability challenges. Ceres launched the Global Reporting Initiative, now the de facto international standard (used by more than 1,200 companies) for corporate reporting on environmental, social, and economic performance.

Conference Board Center for Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability : An organization that attempts to help member Companies transform their corporate citizenship and sustainability thinking and activities into integral, core business strategies, targeting business opportunities that provide maximum economic, environmental, and societal benefits.

Equator Principles: A set of environmental and social benchmarks for managing environmental and social issues in development project finance in emerging markets. The Equator Principles commit the signatory banks and other financial institutions to not finance any projects unless they follow the processes defined by the principles. These principles were developed by private sector banks and were launched in June 2003. The banks chose to model the Equator Principles on the environmental standards of the World Bank and the social policies of the International Finance Corporation. More than 50 financial institutions around the world have adopted the Equator Principles, which have become the standard for banks and Investors on how to assess major development projects around the world. In July 2006, the Equator Principles were revised, increasing their scope and strengthening their processes.

European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE): A “laboratory for sustainable investment”; a multidisciplinary research network founded by researchers with established track records in the academic domain and in practice. ECCE is an internationally oriented research consortium devoted to delivering top-ranked research in the fields of corporate engagement and sustainable finance. ECCE helps practitioners and scholars understand how businesses and financial markets can promote sustainable development by considering ESG issues.

European Social Investment Forum (Eurosif): A pan-European group whose mission is to address sustainability through financial markets. Current member affiliates of Eurosif include pension funds, financial service providers, academic institutions, research associations, and NGOs. The association is a not-for-profit entity that represents assets totaling over €600 billion through its affiliate membership. A number of European countries also have developed their own social investment forums, such as United Kingdom Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) and FIR (French Social Investment Forum).

Social Investment Forum (SIF): A U.S. membership association dedicated to advancing the concept, practice, and growth of socially and environmentally responsible investing. Members integrate economic, environmental, social, and governance factors into their investment decisions, and SIF provides programs and resources to advance this work. The SIF membership includes more than 500 social investment practitioners and institutions, including financial professionals, analysts, portfolio managers, banks, mutual funds, researchers, foundations, community development organizations, and public educators. There are a number of similar SIFs in markets outside the United States.

Studies of Socially Responsible Investing: A resource for investment professionals, academics, and others interested in the quantitative aspects of socially responsible investing. This site is a project of the Moskowitz Research Program, which is affiliated with the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): A CEO-led global association of some 200 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development. Working with governments as well as nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations, the council provides a platform for companies to explore sustainable development; share knowledge, experiences, and best practices; and advocate business positions on these issues in a variety of forums. Members are drawn from more than 35 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. The council also benefits from a global network of about 55 national and regional business councils and partners.