Record number of global investors commit to PRI

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  • 268 signatories have joined the PRI Initiative since July 2009, bringing total signatory numbers to more than 800;
  • The value of the assets under management of PRI signatories now stands at $22 trillion, over 10 per cent of the estimated total value of global capital markets; 
  • Signatories are now drawn from 45 countries. 

LONDON, 14 September 2010 – The number of signatories to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has jumped in the last year by more than 30 per cent – evidence of the increasing recognition by institutional investors worldwide of the need to consider environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues when investing.

After the financial crash there were predictions that interest in responsible investment strategies would diminish, but the commitment is growing with widespread recognition by institutional investors that ESG issues are crucial for developing sustainable financial markets.

This year, 433 signatories completed the PRI assessment survey. The survey asks signatory organisations how they are putting the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice and is mandatory for asset owner and investment manager signatories (following a one year grace period). The aggregate results are published in the PRI’s ‘Report on Progress’. Of the 356 signatories required to complete the survey this year, 97% per cent did so.

Signatories are encouraged also to publish their responses to the survey in full and this year 166 signatories (40% of respondents) did so, up from 70 in 2009 (25%) and 35 in 2008 (22%). 

The report also found:

  • Signatories conducted over 4,000 engagements with companies to encourage improvements in corporate ESG performance;
  • Over 95% of asset owners and 87% of investment managers have an overall investment policy that addresses ESG issues – a significant improvement from the previous year;
  • The percentage of asset owners involved in dialogue with regulators on ESG issues rose to 85%; and
  • Approximately 90% of signatories were involved in formal or informal collaboration with other investors on ESG issues. 

Two signatories were delisted from the initiative due to non-participation in the survey. A further eight signatories voluntarily left the Initiative. A full list can be found here.

James Gifford, Executive Director of the PRI Initiative said,

“A record number of respondents completed the PRI Assessment survey this year. For many investors, this is the first time they have systematically collected data on responsible investment both from within their organisations as well as from outsourced managers and service providers.

“The real highlight is that 40 per cent of respondents opted to publish their responses in full online. This represents a real and significant increase in investor transparency on responsible investment activities. Every large, world-class listed company is now monitoring and reporting on its ESG performance, and so too are an increasing number of investors.”

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

The Principles for Responsible Investment, convened by UNEP FI and the UN Global Compact, was established as a framework to help investors achieve better long-term investment returns and sustainable markets through better analysis of environmental, social and governance issues in investment process and the exercise of responsible ownership practices. The Principles themselves, a full list of signatories and more information can be found at unpri.org

United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

UNEP FI is a unique public-private partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector. UNEP works with over 170 banks, insurers and investment firms, and a range of partner organisations, to develop and promote linkages between sustainability and financial performance. Through its comprehensive work programme encompassing research, training, events and regional activities, UNEP FI carries out its mission to identify, promote and realise the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice at all levels of financial institution operations. More information: www.unepfi.org

UN Global Compact

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact brings business together with UN agencies, labour, civil society and governments to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to mainstream these ten principles in business activities around the world and to catalyse actions in support of broader UN goals. With more than 5,200 participating businesses from over 130 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. More at: www.unglobalcompact.org

 

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