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ratings service aims to track the ethical performance of companies

March 2000

A new corporate social responsibility ratings service has been set up by Pensions and Investment Research Consultants (PIRC).

The Corporate Responsibility Service will provide institutional investors with company reports analysing corporate policies and disclosures on stakeholder issues such as employment, community, environment, human rights and governance.

PIRC says it has launched the service as a response to ‘increased interest among investors for research on social and environmental issues’ in the wake of the government’s regulation requiring pension funds to disclose policies on socially responsible investment.

The service will initially provide company profiles of FTSE 100 businesses, allocating marks according to whether they have:

a policy for dealing with stakeholders issues

board-level responsibility for managing stakeholder relations

systematic disclosure of their performance on social issues

engagement with various stakeholder bodies

independent assurance of their performance.

PIRC claims the information in the reports will allow shareholders ‘to take up issues and enter into dialogue with corporate management to improve performance’.

Stuart Bell, research director at PIRC, said the aim was to look at how social and environmental issues are integrated into management structures, rather than company policy on certain issues. ‘It’s not a box-ticking exercise where we give points based on whether a company is involved in animal testing or the nuclear industry,’ he said.

As well as company reports, the service offers surveys on the main themes of corporate social responsibility, advice on establishing socially responsible investment policies by pension funds, and updates on the main issues facing companies and investors, such as child labour and repressive regimes.

PIRC has been providing research and advice on socially responsible investment for pension funds since 1986. Its 60 institutional investor clients have assets of more than £300 billion.




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