It's certainly been a busy week on the M&A front for IHS Inc. Along with its acquisition of Prime Publications, which gave IHS 50 percent ownership of maritime information provider Lloyd's Register-Fairplay, IHS this week announced acquisitions of Dolphin Software Inc. and Environmental Software Providers (ESP) for $43.5 million.

Dolphin Software develops and uses chemical data and formula information to help companies in their Total Chemical Management initiatives (which include sustainability, supply chain greening and social responsibility). Dolphin's software enables clients to record and track chemicals they use and store. ESP is an enterprise information solutions provider that helps companies manage their sustainability programs. The company's offerings include greenhouse gas management, air, water, and waste management, internal and regulatory compliance assurance incident management and management of emissions allowance and credit portfolios. ESP serves customers in 60 countries.

The benefits that these acquisitions are expected to yield should be similar to those expected from the acquisition of Prime (and the share of Lloyd's), which was announced on the same day that these deals were made public. IHS plans to use both Dolphin and ESP to bolster its offerings in the energy, product lifecycle, security and environmental segments.

These companies should certainly enable IHS to hit the ground running since they have well-established product lines and customers. With the strength of IHS's resources, these product lines and customer bases will undoubtedly grow over time.

Area such as the environment and energy are such growing areas these days. In addition, social responsibility initiatives have increased in importance in the corporate business world. Many companies are now putting additional resources into such programs. IHS is definitely now well-positioned to capitalize on that trend.