November 2021

CRIF launches an ESG assessment platform in Germany

  • The CRIF ESG platform allows companies to map sustainability in international value chains.
  • The tool facilitates supply chain management and provides independent verification of a company’s ESG disclosures.
  • The online questionnaire can now be accessed free of charge.

CRIF has created a portal for evaluating companies according to ESG criteria (Environmental, Social, Governance). With 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 ESG goals transparently and easily.

Sustainability efforts are increasingly becoming a data issue,” commented CRIF Managing Director Dr Frank Schlein. “It is difficult enough for companies to record metrics such as energy-saving initiatives, occupational health and safety or prevention of forced labor 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 keen to transparently communicate their own sustainability actions, there is a need for a standardized 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 a company’s own business operations to those of its suppliers. The Act obliges companies with 3,000 or more employees to regularly assess 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 information about 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 at a reasonable cost?

The CRIF ESG portal offers companies a quick and easy way to create transparency in their own supply chain. “Our portal gives companies around the world the possibility to document their own initiatives toward achieving ESG goals via an independent party,” explained Schlein. An ESG certificate makes suppliers attractive business partners – whilst enabling contracting companies to document the ESG compatibility of their supply chain, in addition to their own efforts. The fully digitalized process also keeps administrative effort low.

CRIF is one of the first companies worldwide to establish this kind of open platform. This 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 on 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 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 specifics of the respective branch in more detail. All questions are based on the independent GRI standards. Once the questionnaire has been completed and submitted, a certificate is generated as a PDF file. This shows the overall score and the four individual sub-scores for Business, Environment, Social and Governance aspects, on a scale from A to E. An additional fifth score, the ESG sector score, maps the additional industry-specific questions. The CRIF ESG certificate can be downloaded for publication, for example, on the company’s website.

The tool is especially useful for companies required or wishing to evaluate their suppliers in accordance with ESG criteria, for example, to reduce 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, and can set new deadlines and send reminders.

A CRIF ESG certificate is valid for one year from its issue. In order to obtain a new certificate, the supplier must complete the applicable CRIF questionnaire every year. Since CRIF continuously bases its questions on the applicable GRI standards and other European directives, both the questions and the answers always reflect the current situation.

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 per year. This gives the supplier the right to participate in the recertification process and also to publish its CRIF ESG certificate outside the CRIF ESG platform for promotional purposes.

Go to the portal.