imug Beratungsgesellschaft mbH

Company mission

The „imug Investment Research” area of the imug consultancy in Hannover provides company evaluations according to social, ethical and ecological criteria since 1997. Imug provides sustainability analyses for companies, bonds, government bonds and issuers of fixed-interest securities.
The special feature of the approach of imug is that the titles are not evaluated according to a given pattern but that an individual and fitting ethical investment policy is developed during the close consulting process with the clients.

The imug consultancy was set up by the imug Institute at the University of Hannover in 1995. The competence of the imug is focussed on the question in which way business targets like turnover, market share and profit can be linked, in the most perfect way, to real advantages for the consumer and customers, society and environment within the context of a sustainability concept. Field research projects are conducted in cooperation with the imug Institute.

Legal form

Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (similar to Ltd.)

Ownership

Dr. Ingo Schoenheit, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ursula Hansen, Dr. Peter Hansen, Jan Devries, Ulrike Niedergesäß, Stefan Dahle

Foundation

1995

Executive Board

Dr. Ingo Schoenheit, Jan Devries (Managing Director)

Number/qualification of employees

There are a total of 30 permanent employees working at imug. In the field of Investment Research there are 5 economists and social scientists with special competence in social-ecological company analysis, sustainability evaluation and ethical ecological investment.

Advisory Board/Council

none

Cooperations/Memberships

Imug is a member of the Forum for Sustainable Investment (FNG), of the German network for business ethics (DNWE) and they cooperate with a number of international research agencies.

Background

The business field investment-research within the imug stems from projects of company tests which have been carried out since 1992. Herein companies are rated according to their social responsibility. These company tests were the impetus to take over the company research on behalf of the Natur-Aktien-Index as well as the cooperation with EIRIS.

The imug has become a rating agency itself after accepting a mandate by EIRIS (Ethical Investment Reseach Service a British research institute) for the rating of German, Austrian and Swiss companies according to EIRIS standards. Meanwhile, imug does a lot of enquiries for a variety of customers in Germany and Europe into social and ecological behaviour of European and international corporations. As the German partner of EIRIS the imug markets the database "Ethical Portfolio Manager" (EPM) consisting of 2800 international company profiles. Because of the research of the EPM there are assets of about 80 bn. Euro screened according to sustainability criteria. Furthermore, imug has developed a voluntary quality standard for CSR Research in cooperation with international partners (amongst others EIRIS and Ethibel).

For further information: www.csrr-qs.org

Research

Imug´s corporate research examines the social and ecological behaviour of German and International businesses according to varying systems of criteria. Imug follows a three step procedure in enquiring the social and ecological performance of companies.

  • Primary information
    Assessment of information provided by the respective company. This is carried out predominantly by questionnaires sent to the companies for commenting and background information. Beyond that, company publications e.g. annual reports, social and environmental reports or brochures, are included in the evaluation. Personal contacts to company representatives are used to round out the picture and allow specific insights into procedures and problems. Occasionally imug pays companies a visit.
  • Secondary information
    Assessment of media reports on company activities. In a broad news search the imug enquires on a regular basis into economical and socio-ecological issues. These consider not just companies but provide also industry standards.
  • Experts know-how
    Since ethical-investment is not considered a classical financial topic, expert know-how is indispensable. Hence, imug cooperates with NGO´s and various stakeholders to get their assessment on company activities and possible consequences.

Criteria

Some of imug´s criteria of ethical investment.

Social affairs:

  • Stakeholder Management and Reporting
  • Safety and health
  • Relationships to suppliers and clients
  • Advancement for women
  • Diversity Management
  • Further education and human resource development
  • Job security
  • Employee involvement and labour unions
  • Regional engagement
  • Exposure to human rights
  • Work and social standards
  • International supplier chain

Environment:

  • Environmental management
  • Environmental politics
  • Environmental performance
  • Biodiversity
  • Product Stewardship
  • Transparency and Reporting
  • Renewable Energies
  • Contribution to the climate protection
  • Greenhouse Gases
  • Nuclear energy
  • Factory farming, animal experiments
  • Gene technology
  • Pesticides, creation of PVC
  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals
  • Environment scandals
  • Tropic wood

Governance

  • Corporate Governance Performance
  • ESG Risk Management
  • Bribe and corruption
  • Code of behaviour
  • Compensation system
  • Transparency
  • Party donations

“Sins”

  • Share of the weapon industry
  • Alcohol, tobacco, gamble
  • Abortion and contraceptives
  • Pornography
  • Fur- trade

Industry-specific topics, such as:

  • Projectfinancing with financial service providers
  • The impact of mobile phones on health
  • Access to medicines in Third World countries
  • business strategies against obesity

Ranking-/Rating-System

imug does not conduct company ratings according to own standards but utilises different systems of criteria provided by customers or partners.

Quality Management

Since 2008, imug is externally audited based on the CSRR-QS standard for sustainability research. Within this process the entire research process and quality management of imug is analyzed.

imug performs the following activities to assure the quality of information accumulation and the evaluation process:

Imug keeps a quality standard (cf. www.imug.de). In this standard, it says inter alia

  • Within a handbook "imug´s quality standards and qualitymanagement" the workflow for each project is described and continually updated.
  • Every analysed company has the option to get to know their sampled data and may comment on them.
  • imug conducts its company-research in dialog with numerous stakeholders
  • Every customer, journalist, or interested person has the option to get to know and check Imug´s questionnaires, handbooks, information sources and methodologies
  • imug participates in public initiatives serving improved transparency and research quality. This is currently especially the initiative of the European Commission to develop a voluntary quality standard for SRI-research.
  • The development of this voluntary quality standard is carried out in cooperation with numerous independent research agencies, e.g. SIRI-Group, Ethibel, EIRIS.

Products & services

  • Ethical Portfolio Manager (EPM)

The Ethical Portfolio Manager contains information about 2800 enterprises from Great Britain, Europe, the USA, Can-ada, Australia, Japan, Hongkong, Singapur analysed in 250 areas of criteria.

  • imug sustainability rating of issuers of fixed-interest securities (including mortgage bonds, mortgage banks, development banks, supranational organizations). Each year imug rates 100 issuers under agreed sustainability criteria
  • Individualised research according to specific demands (e.g. on development and international justice, corporate governance, small and mid caps, etc.)
  • EIRIS Country Sustainability Rating. A country-evaluation including 68 nations (OECD- countries and emerging markets) according to social, ecological and governance criterions.
  • Investment consultancy: Conception of sustainable investment politics, screening of portfolios, consulting of exercises in communication and distribution

Clients

  • Acatis Fair Value Investment AG, Walzenhausen
  • Allianz Global Investors, Frankfurt
  • Bank für Kirche und Caritas eG, Paderborn
  • Deka Investment GmbH, Frankfurt
  • DKM Darlehnskasse Münster eG, Münster
  • EIRIS, London
  • Evangelische Kreditgenossenschaft Kassel eG, Kassel
  • EthikBank Zweigniederlassung der Volksbank Eisenberg eG, Eisenberg
  • EUROCONSUMERS S.A., Brüssel
  • GLS-Bank, Bochum
  • Greenpeace Umweltstiftung, Hamburg
  • HSH Nordbank, Hamburg
  • Invesco Asset Management Deutschland GmbH, Frank-furt a.M.
  • Lupus alpha Asset Management GmbH, Frankfurt a.M.
  • oeco capital Lebensversicherung AG, Hannover
  • Pro Secur Vermögensberatung und -verwaltung GmbH, Köln
  • S-PensionsManagement GmbH, Köln
  • Umweltbank AG, Nürnberg
  • Union Investment Institutional, Frankfurt
  • Union Investment Real Estate, Hamburg

Through the research of imug and EIRIS approximately € 80 billion assets are evaluated.

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