EIRIS Conflict Risk Network evolved out of the Sudan Divestment Task Force (SDTF). SDTF was formed in late 2005 to coordinate the developing Sudan divestment movement in the United States, which at the time consisted of varying, divergent approaches. Some states had adopted sweeping divestment statutes covering nearly all companies with ties to Sudan, while a number of universities had adopted ad-hoc policies targeting a handful of companies at a time. SDTF developed a targeted approach to divestment, which focused only on businesses that were considered materially involved in the conflict and emphasized the importance of attempts toward meaningful engagement prior to divestment. Divestment was a tool of last resort and only used in response to unsuccessful engagement.
The targeted divestment model certainly recognized that irresponsible corporate operations in Sudan may fuel instability and conflict, or even leave a company doing business in the region complicit in violence. However, the model acknowledges that certain, responsibly conducted business has the potential for a positive influence, stability, and development. For these reasons SDTF evolved into Conflict Risk Network in 2009, focused on dialogue and engagement with companies, with the goal of improving on-the-ground behavior and impact.
In 2013, Conflict Risk Network Joined EIRIS, a leading global provider of research into corporate environmental, social, and governance performance, to become the EIRIS Conflict Risk Network. Its mission is to empower responsible investors with independent assessments of companies and advice on integrating them with investment decisions.
In 2020, EIRIS CRN transferred to the EIRIS Foundation, a UK-registered charity with over 30 years of experience working to increase the impact of responsible investment. The Foundation’s mission is to use research, analysis, and its influence to identify gaps, barriers, opportunities, and enablers to help organizations and individuals maximize their contribution to responsible business and investment.
Today, EIRIS CRN conducts such engagement on behalf of its members, a formal network of almost one hundred institutions including pension funds, asset management firms, government entities, university endowments, foundations, financial service providers, and socially responsible investment firms who are interested in leveraging the collective weight of over $3 trillion in assets under management to address severe conflict. To support its engagement, EIRIS CRN publishes in-depth research used by investors to determine the companies that have impacts and relationships that leave them with exposure to conflict and the steps companies should take to mitigate their specific impacts and what opportunities exist for them to support peace and stability.
EIRIS CRN has recently expanded its focus from Sudan to include targeted engagement with corporations in other areas affected by conflict.