You’ll see a new logo at the bottom of our home page beginning this month. The GIIRS symbol indicates that VCC has received approval as a GIIRS Impact-Rated organization. We scored 135.9 out of 200 total points. The average rating is 85.
This is a relatively new rating system, but an important one. For those two reasons, I’m taking the time to explain them here.
GIIRS is the acronym for Global Impact Investing Rating System, a project of the independent nonprofit B Labs. VCC’s for profit bank, Community Capital Bank, became a B certified company in June 2011. We sought a GIIRS rating shortly after our certification because we recognized investors valued consistent industry standards as they deployed their capital into companies working to solve some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.
GIIRS assesses the social and environmental impact of companies and funds across the globe using a ratings system like the Morningstar investment guide or S&P credit rates. The evaluation addresses 15 subcategories such as corporate accountability, transparency, compensation and benefits, and community practices. VCC scored in the top 80 to 100 percent in all of these topics.
Our B certification and GIIRS rating support the growing trend with businesses – we need to focus on the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profit. Working for the public good is no longer just reserved for the nonprofit sector.
Impact investing is a direct byproduct of this evolution. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. They can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon the circumstances.
VCC has integrated corporate social responsibility into its practices from our earliest days as Virginia’s only nonprofit CDFI. When we work to bring capital to the repurposing of a decrepit downtown building, we are balancing risk with the benefits of job creation and Main Street revitalization. When we provide technical assistance to a two-person operation and help them grow to a ten-person venture, we are extending resources to a potential future loan customer. When we convene meetings for an angel fund development in a rural region, we are leveraging capital to encourage additional private investments. All of these are examples of impact investment in action at VCC.
The GIIRS seal of approval is a signal to investor partners as well. As this standard grows in acceptance and popularity across the financial industry, investors will look first to those entities with high GIIRS rankings as possible partners.
We place the GIIRS logo on our site with pride and enthusiasm, looking forward to the ways we might continue to strengthen that triple bottom line.
President & CEO