“A standard with a rating system can help hold the line on social impact and differentiate those who are truly making a difference from those who are simply telling a story."

- Antony Bugg-Levine, Rockefeller Foundation


GIIRS Company Assessment Structure

GIIRS offers investors the ability to compare impact investments across geography, sector, industry and size, utilizing over 40 versions of the GIIRS company assessment specifically designed to appropriately assess a company's impact positioning while maintaining one overarching impact assessment structure to provide a standardized methodology. (See "GIIRS Tailored Assessments" below) 

The GIIRS Company Assessment is comprised of approximately 50-120 weighted questions divided into four distinct impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, and Environment. Each impact area is comprised of several sub-categories around which groups of questions covering key social and environmental issues are organized.

As a result, GIIRS is both consistent and dynamic, evaluating companies on the same social and environmental impact areas while applying appropriate focus and depth to issues where a company is likely to have an impact. For example, a manufacturing company is more likely to have greater environmental impact than a service company, so manufacturers are asked specific questions related to environmental impact and the overall environmental practices impact area is weighted more heavily for manufacturers. Similarly, a small company has fewer workers and therefore fewer worker-related questions and lower weighting of workers impact in its overall GIIRS Impact Ratings.

The GIIRS assessment has a tiered structure:


To further understand the GIIRS structure and how it links indicators into impact areas and subcategories, please see Appendix IV

Assessment Structure 

Impact Area  Subcategory Topic Rationale Indicators (key questions in topic)
Compensation, Benefits and
Compensation & Wages
Fair wages and performance-based
bonsues, along with training for
career advancement, improve the
livelihood of workers 
• all workers are paid a living wage
• % paid above living wage, bonus/wage
increases year over year, etc

See Appendix IV for full listing

In addition to the four impact areas the GIIRS Assessment features:

lmpact Business Models – GIIRS identifies over 13 specific "Impact Business Models" for creating impact through intentional business models (i.e. theories of change), including socially or environmentally beneficial products, supply chains designed to benefit specific stakeholders and alleviate poverty, and ownership models designed to increase wealth and decision-making power of historically underserved stakeholders. These models highlight social enterprises focused on workers, suppliers, distributors, consumers, local or national community, and the environment. The points for this section feedback into their relevant impact area on the GIIRS report.

Metrics – GIIRS collects quantitative and qualitative data using IRIS (Impact Reporting and Investment Standards) indicators in each impact area. Funds or investors can use these metrics to aggregate data or include scale-related considerations when making investment decisions. (See "IRIS & GIIRS" for more information.) 

GIIRS Tailored Company Assessments

There are more than 40 different tracks of the GIIRS assessment, and the specific assessment track that a company completes is dependent on company-specific variables, including geography, industry and size.

The GIIRS assessment has two geographic tracks, three sector tracks for developed markets and four sector tracks for emerging markets, and four tracks depending on company size, as defined by the number of full-time equivalent workers.(3) & (4)

Geography Developed Markets Emerging Markets
Sectors Manufacturing, Wholesale or Services Manufacturing, Wholesale, Service, Agricultural Growers
Company Size 0, 1-9, 10-49, 50-249, 250+ employees 0, 1-9, 10-49, 50-249, 250+ employees


GIIRS Geography Definitions

GIIRS utilizes a methodology to determine a company's geography as Emerging, Frontier, or Developed Market. This methodology is based upon the Human Development Index (HDI), private capital to GNI availability, and gross national income (GNI) per capita, gender empowerment index and the World Bank's Doing Business Report ranking. See Appendix VII for full list of country classification as Emerging, Frontier or Developed Market. (5)

GIIRS Sector Definitions (6)

Sector GIIRS Sector Definition

A company that generates more than 10% of revenues from direct manufacturing activities, defined as "the physical or chemical transformation of materials of components into new products, whether the work is performed by power-driven machines or by hand, in a factory or worker's home, or sold at the wholesale or retail level"


A company that engages in wholesale or retail sales. Wholesale is defined as "the resale of new and used goods to retailers, industrial, commercial, institutional or professional users, to other wholesalers; or acts as agent in buying merchandise for and selling merchandise to such persons or companies"

Services A company that engages in B2B or B2C service provision, defined as "those services produced for sale on the market at a price intended to cover production costs and to provide a profit for the producer"
Agricultural Growers

Companies that carry out agriculture farming, defined as the growing of perennial and non-perennial crops, including farms, cooperatives. Agroprocessors include companies that source perennial and non-perennial crops for food consumption products and agriculture wholesalers


GIIRS Size Definitions

The GIIRS company size determination is based on the number of workers in full-time equivalents (FTEs) to categorize a company as having 0, 1-9, 10-49 or 50+ full-time equivalent workers. For example, a company with 25 full-time employees, 50 part-time employees working 20 hours/week and 10 seasonal workers employed for half of the year are classified as having 55 FTEs and take the 50+ assessment track. Size buckets are based on the World Bank's sizing of SME employment.

Depending on these characteristics, a company will be given a tailored assessment that includes between 50 and 120 weighted questions. These questions will be classified according to the four impact areas – Governance, Workers, Community, and Environment.

Company Assessment Industry Addenda

Industry addenda in the GIIRS company assessment allow for greater adaptability to specific industry issues and impact topics. An industry addendum replaces questions about the product or service provided and underserved customers within the standard GIIRS assessment with more relevant questions for specific industries. The addenda are sets of industry-specific detailed questions of a company's consumer impact, product/service-related practices, policies and market offerings. Industry addenda questions appear automatically in the Socially or Environmentally-focused Business Models section of the assessment when a company reports itself to be in a particular industry.

Addenda industry topics are determined by market demand from investors and companies for intra-industry ratings gradation. They have typically been developed through special expert-led industry "Working Groups," which determine relevant issues, create assessment questions and recommend question weightings to the Standards Advisory Council. Recommendations from an expert Working Group require as 2/3 majority to be overruled by a Standards Advisory Council.

Current Industry Addenda in GIIRS Assessment v3:

Developed Markets Emerging Markets
Green Building with specific tracks for:
• Real Estate Development
• Design Professionals
• Contractors & Builders
• Design & Build
Financial services with specific tracks for:  
• Equity Investor in Developed Markets
• Credit Provider in Developed Markets
• Investment Advisor
Financial services with specific tracks for:  
• Equity Investor in Emerging Markets
• Credit Provider in Developed Markets


GIIRS plans to add industry addenda over time based on investor demand. Likely industries for future addenda include sustainable agriculture and food, energy, healthcare services, and education.

(3) & (4) 0 worker businesses are those that currently employ two or fewer founders of the company and no external workers.

(5) The Frontier Market designation is used for benchmarking purposes. In terms of content the questions are the same for both emerging marketing and frontier market companies.

(6) Sector definitions taken from International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities.

NOTE: Companies that engage in activities across multiple sectors are designated as single sector for the purposes of the assessment. For example, a company who generates at least 10% of revenues in manufacturing would complete a manufacturing version of the assessment. A company that provides services and wholesale business activities would complete the version of the assessment that represents the majority of business activities as measured by revenues.