LONDON, December 20, 2013 – The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative today announced plans to appoint an external independent advisor to work with the Governance Committee of its Advisory Council and new Council Chair to review the PRI’s governance. The decision was made yesterday at a joint meeting of the PRI Advisory Council and PRI Association Board and follows a request by eight Danish signatories to delist from the PRI within the last week due to governance concerns.
The PRI Advisory Council’s Governance Committee, which is chaired by Priya Mathur and whose members are Marcel Barros (Board member, PREVI), Niels Erik Petersen (CIO, Unipension), Daniel Simard (CEO, Bâtirente) and Eric Wetlaufer (Senior Vice President, Public Market Investments, CPPIB), will work with the Advisory Council to finalise the scope for the governance review and the request for tender by the end of January. PRI signatories will have an opportunity to provide input into scope. The Governance Committee will oversee the review process until a new Council Chair is appointed. This is expected to occur by the end of March 2014.
The Council and Board agreed at their joint meeting in Cape Town on 30 September to carry out a formal review of the PRI’s governance structure and processes. This was foreshadowed at the PRI’s Signatory General Meeting (SGM) on 1 October and in a letter to all signatories in late October.
Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director of the PRI, said improving and adapting the PRI’s governance processes to ensure they meet the needs of signatories remains a priority for the organisation.
“Strong and effective governance is the foundation upon which all of the PRI’s work and success ultimately rests,” Ms Reynolds said. “The PRI recognises that as it calls on investors globally to drive improvements in the governance of companies and markets, it must set an example and match the levels of accountability and transparency it expects of its signatories.”
“The PRI is committed to ensuring this review is carried out to the highest standards of independence, impartiality, transparency and accountability, and that its findings and recommendations – along with any subsequent changes to PRI governance as a result of the review – are clear, practical, understood and supported by signatories via our decision-making processes.”
The PRI will update signatories on the status of the governance review in April, following the next joint meeting of the Advisory Council and Board in London. Updates on the progress of the review will be published to the Governance page of the PRI website as they become available. A copy of the letter to signatories about the review, dated 20 December 2013, is available on the website.
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About the Principles for Responsible Investment
The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI) is a network of international investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice. The Principles were devised by the investment community. They reflect the view that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios and therefore must be given appropriate consideration by investors if they are to fulfil their fiduciary (or equivalent) duty. The Principles provide a voluntary framework by which all investors can incorporate ESG issues into their decision-making and ownership practices and so better align their objectives with those of society at large.