ESG ENGAGEMENTS

The ESG Engagements team works with signatories to identify key environmental, social and governance issues in the market, and to address them coordinates collaborative initiatives – including investor-company engagements – as well as publications, webinars, podcasts and events.

See all initiatives, including those coordinated by the PRI and those independently led by signatories, on the Collaboration Platform.

Currently active PRI-coordinated initiatives between investors and companies include:

Environmental

ENVIRONMENTAL

Upcoming engagements

Climate change

The PRI is developing two new engagement initiatives, due to launch in the Autmn / Fall of 2017:

  • TCFD aligned climate disclosure – investors will ask companies to align their disclosure and transition strategies with the final recommendations of the FSB Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). It will focus on a range of sectors, except for oil & gas (see below).
  • Climate change transition for oil and gas – investors will look at how the oil & gas sector is addressing the risks they face as part of a transition to a low-carbon economy. It will build on new research by Carbon Tracker that illustrates the company-level risks associated with unneeded capital expenditure for 69 upstream oil & gas companies.

Deforestation

PRI and Ceres are working with an advisory committee of investors to develop a new, jointly-managed collaborative engagement that will expand our engagement efforts on palm oil to commodities such as soy and cattle, which are closely linked to deforestation as well as other ESG issues in the Amazon region and beyond. The engagement will be opened to all signatories to join from mid-2017.

Ongoing engagements

Methane

The PRI has launched a global engagement on methane with companies from the oil and gas and utilities sectors. Investors will encourage companies to measure, report and reduce methane emissions through the natural gas value chain. The engagement will pilot An investor’s guide to methane: engaging with oil and gas companies to manage a rising risk.

Investors are engaging with companies in the US, Canada and Australia whose lobbying on climate is inconsistent with investors’ interest in maximising long-term value. This includes instances where a company’s public position supports climate policy but trade associations the company belongs to are lobbying against it.

Resources:Investor expectations on corporate climate lobbying

Investors are engaging with high-emitting but non-disclosing companies in an effort to encourage them to disclose their Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is so that investors can more accurately measure the carbon footprint of their investment portfolios, in line with the PRI’s Montréal Carbon Pledge.

Investors representing nearly US$6 trillion are engaging global, listed companies to have them better disclose and manage water risks in their agricultural supply chains. As agriculture is the largest user of water, investors are focusing on the food, retail, beverage and textile sectors, which are reliant on agricultural inputs from water-scarce regions.

Resources: Engagement on water risks in agricultural supply chains - investor guide

Palm oil

Investors are pushing for sustainable production and sourcing of palm oil. Allegations of forest clearing and social injustice, along with the low uptake of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil, pose reputational risks for palm oil producers and purchaser.

KEY CONTACTS: Paul ChandlerGemma James and Ben Pincombe


Other environmental engagement resources:

Additional resources

FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures - Martin Skancke (Chair of the PRI Board and FSB Task Force member) joins the PRI's Sagarika Chatterjee to discuss the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and what their recently released recommendations mean for investors.

Read more here

Methane in the oil and gas sector - Sean Wright (Environmental Defense Fund) and Matthias Beer (BMO GAM) join the PRI's Gemma James to discuss why methane emissions are a material issue for investors in the context of climate change. 

Corporate climate lobbying in the US - Kathy Mulvey (Union of Concerned Scientists) joins the PRI's Paul Chandler to discuss why corporate lobbying on climate change matters to investors, as well as the findings from UCS' new report: The Climate Accountability Scorecard - Ranking Major Fossil Fuel Companies on Climate Deception, Disclosure, and Action
 2 degrees of separation: Transition risk for oil & gas in a low carbon world - This innovative research breaks new ground in providing investors with a detailed analysis of 69 oil and gas companies' alignment with a scenario where global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius. It also includes estimates of the proportion of future capital expenditure and production that falls outside a 2 degree carbon budget.

Social

SOCIAL

This report looks at human rights in the extractives sector.  It asks what is at stake, why there is need for collaborative investor action, why PRI signatories are using the UN Guiding Principles as a framework for engagement, and how to adapt engagement to leaders, laggards and those in between.

Resources: Human Rights and the extractive industry: Why, who and how to engage plus Research note

This report is a tool for investors who are engaging companies on supply chain labour issues. It draws together the business case for investors to engage on this topic, results and lessons learned from the 2013-2015 PRI-coordinated engagement on supply chain labour standards in agriculture.  It points to a series of investor expectations and useful resources that can be used to guide and support engagement with companies. In October 2016, the PRI kicked off Phase 2 of this engagement. 

Resources: From poor working conditions to forced labour - What’s hidden in your portfolio?

Additional resources

  • The UK Modern Slavery Act
    Phil Bloomer, Executive Director of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, joins the PRI's Felicitas Weber to discuss the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and it's implications for companies and investors.
  • Shipbreaking practices
    Shipbreaking is one of the world's most dangerous occupations, with severe impacts on human rights and the environment. Annie Bersagel (KLP) joins the PRI's Valeria Piani to explain why this is important to investors and encourages them to join their current engagement on responsible ship recycling.
  • Labour Standards in the supply chain - a supplier perspective
    Charlie Bradshaw (Matrix APA) joins the PRI's Felicitas Weber to discuss how to address poor labour conditions in global supply chains, looking at the supplier perspective.
  • Human rights in the seafood supply chain – what is the way forward?
    Peter van der Werf of RobecoSAM moderates this discussion at PRI in Person.

KEY CONTACT:  Bettina Reinboth

Other social engagement resources:


Governance

GOVERNANCE

Upcoming engagements

Cyber

Investors are looking to engage in dialogue with companies to assess how they are identifying and monitoring cyber risks through sound governance structures and board oversight. The scope and the parameters of this engagement are currently being refined by an investor advisory committee. The project will be open for PRI signatories to join as of the end of July 2017.  

Investors spent two years engaging with companies across multiple sectors and regions to encourage more transparent anti-corruption strategies, policies and systems and better disclosure. The PRI is currently building the next phase of this project, to be launched in late-2017.

Resources: Guide on how to engage companies on anti-bribery and corruption, and quick reference.

Responding to increased signatory interest in corporate tax responsibility, investors from Europe, North America and Asia worked with the PRI to develop an engagement guidance document that, through background, key risks, engagement questions and good practice examples, supports investors in holding meaningful dialogue with companies on the issue.

This was recently supplemented with the investors’ disclosure recommendations on corporate income tax. The PRI has put together an advisory committee to shape a collaborative engagement on this topic, due to launch in September 2017. 

Resources: Engagement on corporate tax responsibility:

 Additional resources are available here.

Other governance engagement resources:

Additional resources 

Corporate ownership transparency - secret or anonymously-owned companies pose a number of risks to shareholders - both financial and non-financial. This is primarily due to the difficulty in identifying the actual ("beneficial") owners. Eryn Schornick (Global Witness) joins the PRI's Olivia Mooney to discuss the issue, as well as the tools available to investors. 

Proxy access in the USA - Scott Zdrazil (New York City Comptroller) joins the PRI's Olivia Mooney to discuss the development of proxy access in the USA. This includes an overview of the Boardroom Accountability Project, the company response so far and advice for investors on how to engage on the issue.

Culture and conduct at Banks - Paul Cox (NEST), Tim Tookey (Nationwide) and Bess Joffe (TIAA) join Schroders' Jessica Ground to discuss the action that investors can take to help improve the culture and conduct within the banking sector. 


MEET THE ESG ENGAGEMENTS TEAM:

Kris Douma

Kris Douma

Director, Investment Practices and ESG Engagements

See more on the PRI Executive team

Valeria Piani

Valeria Piani

Associate Director, ESG Engagements

See more on the PRI Executive team

Olivia Watson

Olivia Watson, Head of Environmental and Social Issues

Olivia joined the PRI in november 2009. She oversees collaborative initiatives on environmental and social themes.

Before joining the PRI, Olivia worked as a sustainability consultant advising multinational companies on sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement, and as an analyst on ESG issues for a research firm, where she engaged with companies on climate change risks and opportunities.

She has an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation from the London School of Economics and a BA in Biology from Bates College in the US.


Paul Chandler

Paul Chandler, Manager, Environmental Issues

Paul joined the PRI in March 2014. He is responsible for engagements on climate change, and palm oil.

Prior to joining the PRI, Paul worked in ESG research and engagement for Regnan, an Australian specialist ESG provider working for and on behalf of institutional investors. Previous to this, Paul worked for Colonial First State Investments.

Paul holds a Master of Environment with a specialisation in climate change from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Business, majoring in finance, from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).


Gemma James

Gemma James, Manager, Environmental Issues

Gemma joined the PRI in April 2015. She is responsible for engagements on water and hydraulic fracturing.

Gemma previously worked for the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) in London. She worked on water, biodiversity and climate change issues with mining companies to develop and share best practice.

Gemma holds an MA in Environment, Politics and Globalisation and a BA in Geography, both from King’s College London.


Bettina Reinboth

Bettina Reinboth, Manager, Social Issues

Bettina joined the PRI in August 2016. She is responsible for engagements on social issues.

Prior to joining the PRI, Bettina worked for DNV GL in London, advising multinational companies on their sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, research and best practice, with a particular focus on labour and human rights and ways business can implement the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights. 

Bettina holds an MSc in Development Management from London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA in Geography from King’s College London. 

 
Olivia Mooney

Olivia Mooney, Senior Manager, Governance Issues

Olivia joined the PRI in August 2014. She is responsible for engagements on corporate governance issues.

Prior to this Olivia worked as a research analyst at EIRIS, focusing on companies in financial services, telecommunications and technology. Her previous work includes a collaborative project with the Istanbul Stock Exchange Sustainability index, company engagement, ESG methodology development and negative screening, among other research.

Olivia holds a master's degree in International Relations from the University of Birmingham and a bachelor's degree in Religion and Theology from the University of Manchester.

 
Vaishnavi Ravishankar

Vaishnavi Ravishankar, Manager, Governance Issues

Vaishnavi joined the PRI in August 2016. She supports corporate governance collaborative engagements, cross-project functions, strategy and outreach to signatories. 

Prior to joining the PRI, Vaishnavi worked for CAER, an Australian based ESG research service provider for over five years. She focused on assessment of ESG performance of Australian and International companies, developed ESG position papers and thematic research papers for clients, and took on accounting related tasks.

She has a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Finance from the Australian National University (ANU) and is working towards a Graduate Certificate of Law at the ANU.


Ben Pincombe

Ben Pincombe, Project Manager

Ben joined the PRI in June 2015. He is responsible for engagements on climate change, as well as coordinating the PRI's work on megatrends.

Prior to joining the PRI, Ben worked as an auditor for PwC in their Insurance and Investment Management department. He is also a qualified chartered accountant (ACA) with the ICAEW. Previous to this, Ben worked for Deutsche Bank as a product controller in equity derivatives.

Ben holds a BA Hons in Economics with German from the University of Nottingham, which included a year abroad working and studying in Frankfurt.