Table 13 provides an overview of benchmarks and rating systems that are already available to screen companies on their environmental (and biodiversity) sustainability. It can be used as a reference by financial institutions, researchers and other stakeholders that have an interest to know what instruments are currently available. Second, these instruments could serve as indicators in risk assessment procedures of asset managers to screen companies on their biodiversity performance
The instruments that have been included share two characteristics:
Focus on the financial sector: The tool is either designed for the financial sector specifically or generally for the private sector (which includes of course the financial sector).
Focus on biodiversity: Since biodiversity can be regarded as part of the wider environmental spectrum, the initial focus of this overview was to screen for instruments that focus on addressing environmental issues in general. However, of the tools that are incorporated, the focus was placed on detecting if biodiversity-related issues were addressed as well and if so, how.
The following conclusions can be drawn from this table:
The stock-related rating systems have generally been developed to measure how the major companies in the world are moving on the sustainability road. They are rather general by nature, tend to focus on the private sector in general and the outcomes are freely available on the internet.
The larger share of the systems included in this overview are screening ranking methods developed by individual companies (e.g., consultancies) and (non) commercial research institutes. Some of them also tend to provide an overview of how groups of companies (or sectors) are performing on environmental sustainability issues. In addition, some are focused on individual companies and these companies can indicate which factors or company departments should be taken into account as well as if the information will be freely available or remain internally classified.
In total this review revealed 19 benchmark and rating systems that focus on or take account of environmental issues. Please note, however, that this list is not definitive. Leipziger (2003),108 for example, provides an overview of 30 CSR tools and/or statements
Most of these benchmarking tools, however, have been developed for the private sector in general, rather than for the financial sector specifically.
The Environment Index (developed by Business in the Community – BiTC) is the only benchmarking tool which has incorporated biodiversity.
Table 13. Overview of benchmarks, indexes and other rating agencies and systems that address biodiversity issues within the financial sector
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