This policy outlines how the PRI Secretariat guides and governs the use, content and scope of its external communications to contribute to the public debate about responsible investment.
Advocacy of the Principles, the PRI’s core work streams and responsible investment generally
This is the typical communication that the PRI undertakes. It is generally applied:
- To advocate the Principles and responsible investment.
- To demonstrate progress towards implementation by the PRI and signatories.
- To evidence impact and showcase best practise identified in the annual reporting and assessment process.
- To promote the findings of PRI-branded publications released by work streams.
Advocacy and commentary around the PRI research and public policy agenda
The PRI actively promotes research produced by its policy and research work programme, including supporting policy recommendations where relevant. However in doing so, the PRI:
- Will not seek to represent the views of the whole signatory base or indicate that research or recommendations represent the views of signatories collectively.
- Will base its comments on high quality research containing well thought-out arguments and proposals that are rigorously defendable. These may – as in the case of our 2011 Universal Owner publication – contain recommendations for policy makers and investors.
Endorsing other organisations’ initiatives
The PRI Advisory Council and PRI Association Board has on a number of occasions issued statements on particular issues or in support of particular initiatives (eg. annual investor statement on climate change). In future, these statements and endorsements will come from the PRI Initiative itself. In doing so, the PRI:
- Will not seek to represent the views of individual signatories or the signatory base as a whole, or indicate the endorsement represents the view of all signatories.
- Will only endorse initiatives that directly support its Mission, or directly assist in the goals of the Principles and their implementation by signatories.
- Will support initiatives or projects that are aligned, in general, with what leading signatories (long-term asset owners in particular) would deem reasonable and appropriate.
Where PRI will not comment
The PRI does not speak on behalf of signatories. It will typically not comment when:
- Asked for opinions on a signatory’s specific practices or investments.
- Asked for opinions on controversial public policy – the PRI will point to examples of good public policy however (e.g. the Danish and South African RI disclosure efforts) and provide broad support for regulation that supports greater disclosure, RI activity etc.
- Specific company controversies or misdeeds, or questions about what investors should do regarding these, beyond pointing to the case as an example of the materiality of ESG issues to investors.
Governance of PRI public communications
Public comments on core PRI matters and responsible investment generally will be provided by the PRI Secretariat’s official spokespeople.
Decisions about communications in support of PRI’s policy and research work programme also rest within the Secretariat. Research will carry the PRI logo but will include a disclaimer making it clear that any findings or recommendations do not necessarily represent the views of individual signatories or the signatory base as whole. Where research partners or signatories involved in research seek to communicate publicly on the findings, this will be subject to the development of key messages by the PRI Secretariat that all parties agree to adhere to in their communications.
The decision over whether or not to support specific initiatives or projects carried out by other organisations will, in general, rest with the Managing Director in consultation with the Chair. Statements clearly outlining the PRI’s position and the rationale for providing the endorsement will be posted on the PRI’s public website.
The full ‘Guidelines for PRI public communications’ was approved by the PRI Advisory Council and PRI Association Board in June 2012 and is available for signatories to review on the extranet.