- The CRIF ESG platform allows companies to map sustainability in international value chains.
- The tool facilitates supply chain management and provides independent verification of the company’s own ESG disclosures.
- The online questionnaire can now be accessed free of charge.
With CRIF ESG, information service provider CRIF has created a portal for evaluating companies according to ESG criteria (Environmental, Social, Governance). Using free online access, companies can now document their own ESG initiatives, check the sustainability performance of all their suppliers and business partners and obtain certification by an independent party. The solution helps companies communicate their contribution to the ESG goals transparently and easily.
“Sustainability efforts are increasingly becoming a data issue,” says CRIF managing director Dr Frank Schlein. “It is difficult enough for companies to record metrics such as energy-saving initiatives, employee occupational health and safety or prevention of forced labour internally – let alone communicate these to third parties. As an information service provider, we see an opportunity here to work with companies to promote ESG transparency across the board.”
With a growing number of companies motivated to transparently communicate their own sustainability actions, there is a need for a standardised ESG reporting framework. Directives such as the EU Taxonomy, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act affect many large and medium-sized companies and impose transparency obligations regarding sustainability-related disclosures. In particular, the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, which will come into force from 2023, introduces a paradigm shift away from focusing on the company’s own business operations to those of its suppliers. The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act obliges companies with 3,000 or more employees to regularly fulfil their duty of care towards their suppliers with regard to respecting human rights and certain relevant environmental standards and submit a report to the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control. Furthermore, if a company obtains substantiated knowledge of a potential violation of human rights, it is obliged to also conduct due diligence on indirect suppliers (“supply chain”). How can companies evaluate their suppliers’ compliance with ESG criteria in the future with manageable outlay?
The CRIF ESG portal offers companies a quick and easy way to create transparency in their own supply chain. “Our portal presents an option for companies from around the world to document their own initiatives towards achieving ESG goals via an independent party,” explains Schlein. “An ESG certificate makes suppliers attractive business partners – whilst enabling contracting companies, in addition to their own efforts, to document the ESG compatibility of their supply chain. The fully digitalised process also keeps administrative effort at a low level.
CRIF is one of the first companies worldwide to establish this kind of open platform. The innovative solution is designed as a contribution to a more sustainable world – which is why the platform is open to all companies.
After registering free of charge in the online portal, interested companies are invited to complete a questionnaire based on the standards of the independent Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This asks about all measures that the company has already implemented to fulfil the ESG criteria in line with the GRI standards. As well as general questions about the company’s ESG activities, for selected industries additional questions address the specificities of the respective branch in more detail. All questions are based on the standards of the independent Global Reporting Initiative. Once the questionnaire has been completed and submitted, a certificate is generated as a PDF file. This shows the overall index and the four individual sub-indices Business, Environmental, Social and Governance, on a scale from A to E respectively. An additional fifth index, the sector ESG index, maps the industry-specific additional questions. The CRIF ESG certificate can be downloaded for publication on the company’s website, for example.
The tool is especially convenient for companies required or wishing to evaluate their suppliers in accordance with ESG criteria, for example to lower their operational or reputational risks. Once a company has uploaded its supplier list to the platform, all suppliers receive an automated invitation on behalf of the company to register on the platform and complete the questionnaire. Via a dashboard, the company has a continuous overview of its suppliers’ ESG status, can set new deadlines and send reminders.
An issued CRIF ESG certificate is valid for one year. In order to obtain a new certificate, the supplier must complete the applicable CRIF questionnaire every year. Since CRIF continuously bases its universe of questions on the applicable GRI reporting standards and other European directives, both the questions and the answers always reflect the current status.
The CRIF ESG certificate is free of charge for the supplier in the first year. From the second year, there is a charge of 100 euros per year. This grants the supplier the right to participate in the recertification process and also to publish its CRIF ESG certificate outside of the CRIF ESG platform for promotional purposes.
Interested companies can now register free of charge via the web portal and fill out the questionnaire. The portal is accessible via the CRIF website: https://crifesg.com/de