GIIN Releases Updated Version of IRIS Catalog, IRIS 4.0
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
An updated version of the IRIS catalog, IRIS 4.0, has been released! With greatly enhanced guidance on how investors should use IRIS metrics and a new metric component— the footnote— IRIS 4.0 provides investors with clear instructions and examples that enable consistency in data collection, management, and reporting across the market. The updated catalog also features metric additions and improvements to measure the performance of investments in agriculture, education, financial services, forestry, housing, community development, and land conservation.
IRIS 4.0 is an important next step toward creating a vibrant impact investing market where social and environmental performance drives investment decisions and, alongside financial performance, can be universally benchmarked and compared.
What is the process for updating IRIS?
- Every second year, the GIIN manages a formal update to the IRIS catalog in accordance with best practices in standards setting.
- Updates to the catalog are based on input from IRIS users, working groups of impact measurement experts, third-party standards setters, and an advisory body which oversees the development of IRIS.
- For the 4.0 upgrade cycle, which has been 2 years in the making, the IRIS initiative conducted extensive outreach via interviews, a public survey, and questions in Eyes on the Horizon: The Impact Investor Survey.
What is new about the IRIS Catalog?
- IRIS 4.0 includes a total of 559 metrics – from which investors can choose a subset of metrics according to what performance data matters most to inform their investment goals. 72 metrics are have been added to address gaps in key investment themes.
- Only 5% of the catalog was changed materially – changes that may affect the way an investor reports or collects data against that metric.
- The upgrade includes amplified and additional usage guidance to assist with the interpretation and implementation of IRIS metrics.
- IRIS 4.0 includes a new metric component – the footnote – with the intent of driving towards additional contextual clarity and consistency in data reported about investees or projects.
How does IRIS work with other performance data and reporting systems?
The IRIS catalog aims to bring clarity to the often confusing market of impact measurement frameworks. This is accomplished through alignment with other impact measurement metric sets, assessments, and methodologies. For IRIS 4.0, additional metrics were pulled from those frameworks – bolstering the alignments. The frameworks include:
- Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST), a global nonprofit working with a member network to scale up the quality and availability of SME finance and close the ‘financing gap’ in sustainable trade.
- Global Impact Investing Rating System, a product of B-Lab, a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good.
- Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), a not-for-profit association created to promote lighting solutions that benefit society and businesses in developing and emerging markets.
- Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an international independent organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others.
- Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations (HIPSO), a set of indicators resulting from a 25-member working group of International Financial Institutions.
- Social Performance Indicators (SPI4), a social performance audit tool for financial service providers created by CERISE in collaboration with SPTF, Smart Campaign, MIX, and others.
- impact investing