The tool has been designed to assist investors in assessing companies’ relative capabilities and strategic positioning in addressing the competitive risks, challenges, and opportunities posed by the 10 Principles of the historic United Nations Global Compact. The Global Compact already has over 2,400 corporate signatories around the world, and is the largest voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in history. Global Compact Plus is also a powerful tool for companies themselves to benchmark and improve their progress.

“Companies’ performance on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues is becoming increasingly critical to their competitiveness, profitability, and share price performance”, said Innovest Chief Executive Matthew Kiernan. “The Global Compact is rapidly becoming the international ‘gold standard’ for CSR performance, and this new tool will help investors critically assess companies’ relative attractiveness as investment candidates. Looking at it another way, the tool will put additional “teeth” – marketplace teeth – into the Global Compact.

Global Compact Plus builds on Innovest’s 10-year track record researching international companies, and differs from earlier generations of screening tools in at least three respects. First, it explicitly acknowledges that not all ESG issues are equally material in each industry sector. Second, it goes beyond a pro-forma assessment of what companies say, and focuses on what they actually do. And third, it provides a “best-in-class” ranking of companies relative to their same-sector competitors.

Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact, said, “The active engagement of both companies and their investors is absolutely essential to giving the Global Compact Principles real traction on the ground. Innovest’s new tool, combined with their international reputation, represents a major milestone and push in that direction. We very much welcome its arrival on the international scene.”

Innovest also announced that it has secured the first of what it expects will be many institutional investor clients for Global Compact Plus – the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. The Fund, established in 2001, currently has assets of approximately $7 billion (N.Z.). By 2025, it is expected to grow to $120 billion, making it one of the largest funds in Australasia.