Seven research firms qualify for new certificateMay 2009
Scandinavia’s GES Investment Services and the UK-based responsible investment specialist Eiris are among the first SRI research providers to be certified against a new European Voluntary Quality Standard (VQS) for corporate sustainability and responsible investment research.
Five others have also been certified: Ecodes (Spain), EthiFinance (France), imug (Germany), oekom (Germany) and Vigeo (France).
The standard, created by the Brussels-based Association for Independent Corporate Sustainability, to which six of the seven now-certified companies belong, was developed as a response to demand from SRI investors for more transparency on how research providers go about their business.
Helene Regnell, vice-president at GES, said her business felt VQS certification was now a must-have. ‘Where transparency and accountability is concerned the tables have been turned, and eyes are not only on investors and companies but also on responsible investment research providers,’ she said. ‘The VQS is our industry equivalent of the ISO 9001 and it will add further credibility and strength to our line of business.’
Companies that apply to be certified must prove, among other things, that they implement best practice and codes of conduct. All research groups receiving a certificate confirming adherence to the standard have had their audits certified by an independent certification council.
GES said it had developed various new policies and a code of conduct as a direct result of preparing itself for the process.
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