|Date of publishing:||September 20, 2011|
|Also available in the following languages:||Dutch, French|
ETHIBEL ngo was founded in 1991 by several NGOs operating in the most diverse social action domains, with a view to independent screenings of ethical investment funds. In the early nineties the market of ethical investments was still relatively new, although many individuals and associations are already interested in supporting a socially relevant cause with their savings. A screening agency which also launches a specific label meets the real needs of these individuals.
Therefore, the Ethibel label has been a success right from the start: many financial institutions are applying for it and it is recognised as a leading label, also outside Belgium. The label still exists today and is called Ethibel PIONEER. In order to meet the needs of financial institutions and investors Forum ETHIBEL launched a second label in 2004, Ethibel EXCELLENCE.
Ten years after the incorporation, in 2001, the research activities with regard to corporate social responsibility (CSR) are accommodated into a new organisation: STOCK at STAKE. A few years later (in 2005) STOCK at STAKE merges with the French organisation Vigeo which, after some further takeovers, becomes a powerful and high-performance rating agency.
In 2006 Ethibel chooses to adopt a new name: Forum ETHIBEL. By adding ‘Forum’ the organisation gives a signal that CSR and SRI standards are only meaningful against the background of a wide social debate, if - in other words - there is a 'forum' which facilitates this debate.
By that time the landscape of ethical investment funds has thoroughly changed: much more products, which are presented as ethical and sustainable, have entered the market. This great variety of products is attractive for consumers but it becomes harder and harder to assess the ethical quality of the funds. Therefore, forum ETHIBEL and its high-quality label are still indispensable on the market. In addition, the organisation expands its activities with audits and certifications of funds which do not (or not entirely) follow the Ethibel criteria. This allows Forum ETHIBEL to offer investors a first guarantee, i.e. that the criteria imposed by the financial institutions upon themselves are actually respected. The organisation also makes commitments towards the authorities, companies and organisations by means of advice.
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