European Commission appoints London based think-tank to conduct sustainability ratings and research study

SustainAbility wins EU contract

The European Commission’s financial services directorate has selected London based think-tank SustainAbility to provide a "state of play" study of the sustainability-related products and services market. 

SustainAbility, which saw off seven other bids to win the €224,000 contract, will now have nine months to produce “recommendations and best practices” to “stimulate demand and improve the quality of supply” of ESG ratings and research, a topic taken up in action six of the EU’s Action Plan.

SustainAbility – a subsidiary of London based environmental consultancy ERM – was set up in 1987 by corporate responsibility expert John Elkington and environmental author Julia Hailes.

SustainAbility, RI has learned, will lead the study as the head of a consortium of firms including sustainability professional network, SRI-CONNECT and investment title, Institutional Investor.

SRI-CONNECT will be responsible for gathering views and ideas from investors, research firms and companies.  Anyone who wishes to share thoughts and opinions should contact SRI-Connect's Mike Tyrrell at

According to the award document, SustainAbility will:

(i) provide a state of play of the sustainability-related products and services market;

(ii) establish an inventory and classification of actors and sustainability products/services available in the market;

(iii) explore the use and quality of sustainability-related products and services; and

(iv) provide recommendations and best practices to stimulate demand and improve the quality of supply.

The European Commission’s financial services directorate (DG FISMA) still has an outstanding tender for a study into the “development of tools and mechanisms for the integration of ESG factors into the EU Banking Prudential Framework and into banks’ business strategies and investment policies”, which RI reported on last year. 

The end of last year also saw the European Commission take a step closer to putting the EU’s green taxonomy into law, as member states signed off on the legislation following months of political negotiations. 

Its Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) – the 35-strong group of investors, academics, corporates, membership groups and others – also agreed to remain in place for another nine months to help with the implementation of the taxonomy.

The deal still needs to be formally signed off by the European Parliament, which is not expected to be complete until February. See RI’s coverage here