Priority engagement process

Since 2006, the PRI Secretariat has built the trust and confidence of investors by collaborating on, and in engagement in, proxy voting activities through the Clearinghouse platform. However, there has been a need for the Investor Engagements team to enter a second strategic phase toward highly focused, well researched and supported collaborative engagements. These projects should attract senior representatives, drive relevant changes in corporate behaviour, influence key public policy developments and contribute to addressing negative ESG externalities on the global economy.

To achieve this, the PRI Secretariat and the PRI Advisory Board have decided to set up a new governance structure for the Investor Engagements (IE) work stream. In the first quarter of 2012, the Investor Engagements Steering Committee (IE SC) was established to evaluate and prioritise collaborative engagements and internal resource allocation, develop a policy on the use of the platform and help consolidate the work offered by the PRI Secretariat on collaborative engagements with investee companies and policymakers.

A final list of collaborative engagements, to be coordinated by the PRI Secretariat from 2012-2015, has been defined by taking into consideration feedback from:

  • The Investor Engagements Steering Committee
  • PRI signatories (through a survey and feedback collected at the PRI in Person 2012 event).
  • The PRI Secretariat and the Investor Engagements team

The IE SC has agreed that the following criteria should be considered (in order of importance) when prioritising collaborative engagements to be coordinated by the PRI Secretariat:

  1. Consistent with, and supportive of, the PRI mission and CH vision
  2. Relevant to a potentially large number of signatories (assessed through the results of a survey)
  3. Significance of the issue/link to negative externalities to the overall economy. Will addressing the issue help the economy overall?
  4. Strength of the business case (engagements with strong business cases are more likely to succeed)
  5. Geographical spread (with inclusion of emerging markets)
  6. Consistency with UN goals, support for UN GC initiatives

The group also agreed that:

  • there should be an appropriate diversity of engagements
  • there should be engagements that are suitable and relevant to different types of signatories
  • the selection process should not focus on one set of criteria only.

After internal analysis of capacity needs and available resources and discussion with the IE SC members, the PRI Secretariat has defined the final list of collaborative engagements coordinated by the PRI. This list will be reviewed and discussed by the IE SC on an annual basis. Steering Committees for each new collaborative engagement topics were determined in the last quarter of 2012, while invitations to join new phases of already existing initiatives have been circulated throughout 2013.

External stakeholders interested in knowing more, or providing relevant information/expertise, about the topic/sectors of these priority collaborative initiatives are encouraged to contact the investor engagement team investorengagements@unpri.org.