Ensuring the PRI's accountability to signatories
Directors elected by asset owners
Directors elected by non asset owners
Permanent UN advisors
The PRI Board is working well and we are constantly working to improve our performance. The board agreed five priorities for 2017/18:
PRI 2018-21 strategy
The board discussed the strategy over a series of meetings. The board provided guidance on critical elements for the strategy and reviewed the executive’s draft proposals. The PRI’s 10-year Blueprint was the framework for our strategic discussions, with a focus on the priorities and resources to start effectively implementing the Blueprint objectives. During these discussions the board has also been considering the strategy through the lenses of signatory value and regional specificity (rather than a one size-fits-all approach to implementation). The board has also considered at length how to measure the PRI’s success against the Blueprint objectives. The PRI will aim to give a holistic picture of progress made, using qualitative and quantitative reporting. Our reports on progress will be candid and open, an opportunity to be self-critical, invite signatory participation and challenge signatories to act. The 2018-21 strategy was approved by the board post signatory consultation.
Asset owner recruitment
From its inception the PRI’s theory of change has been that asset owners can drive responsible investment through the investment chain. Thirty-nine new asset owner organisations signed the Principles in 2017/18, above the target of 38 new asset owner signatories (gross). This positive outcome is the result of solid foundations, meaningful conversations with prospective signatories takes time. Once an organisation does sign we are keen to ensure that signatories make the best use of the PRI’s resources. The asset owner consultation, a survey and series of roundtables from March to July this year, is seeking to understand better how the PRI can empower asset owners, the ESG issues that are important to asset owners and the PRI ‘services’ that these signatories find useful. We hope that the results of this consultation will both reinforce existing efforts and help us to develop new area of support to empower asset owners.
The PRI’s geographic reach
The PRI continues to expand its support for signatories in their local networks. Signatories report that they derive a lot of value from local PRI network support that understands the dynamics and priority ESG issues in their respective markets. Over the past year the PRI has added network staff in Beijing, London and The Hague. The board had an outreach and fact-finding focused meeting in June in Beijing. The aim was to develop a deeper knowledge of the Chinese market to form the basis for the PRI’s strategy in China. There are already a number of informational exchange initiatives underway and I think that a lot of ESG and responsible investment issues really resonate in China at present. We will keep signatories informed of key planned initiatives in China.
Outreach to leaders within signatories and non-signatories
My priority over the past year has been outreach to Asian markets. I have met with signatories, potential signatories and important stakeholders in China, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. These meetings, accompanied by PRI staff, are building relationships at the leadership level and developing our understanding of the respective markets. I attended the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds annual meeting and continue to be a member of the FSB Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). Climate change is the number one ESG issue for our signatories. I think that the close collaboration between the TCFD and the PRI has been very beneficial for both the development of the framework itself and signatories’ understanding of climate risk.
Executive oversight and support
The board has oversight of the implementation of the strategy principally via the management report, a standing item for every board meeting. The report is an opportunity for the CEO to raise issues of concern or big issues on the horizon, seek advice and to celebrate recent achievements. Routine reports within the management report include: key performance indicators; updates on key initiatives; recent and forthcoming publications; quarterly signatory update; financial accounts; partnerships and fundraising updates; human resources report.
The board continues to put considerable effort into improving its effectiveness. The PRI’s Articles mandate that the board conducts a periodic external assessment of its effectiveness. In April 2018 the PRI retained Nestor Advisors to facilitate the review. I am glad to report that the reviewers concluded that the PRI has a well-functioning board with committed and engaged board members. However, board members feel that they can perform better as PRI ambassadors, with better support from the executive. To maintain engagement and quality of discussion the board wants to meet more frequently, raising their commitment from three to four in person meetings annually. The review also identified recommendations on how the board committees and Executive can more effectively support the board.
I would like to thank the directors that departed the board in December 2017, Marcel Barros (PREVI) and Geeta Aiyer (Boston Common Asset Management) for their valuable input during their terms. The PRI hopes to continue to benefit from the expertise of the departing board directors.
At the start of this year we welcomed two newly elected and two re-elected directors that will bring their perspectives, skills and knowledge to the board:
- Marcus Madureira, Planning Director, PREVI (Brazil) (elected for a first term)
- Priya Mathur, Board President, CalPERS (US) (re-elected for a third term)
- Renosi Mokate, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Government Employees Pension Fund (South Africa) (re-elected for a second term)
- Tycho Sneyers, Managing Partner, LGT Capital Partners (Switzerland) (elected for a first term)
In this year’s election there are three asset owner positions and one investment manager position up for election. Skills, experience and diversity are critical to a high performing board. The PRI is a global organisation, and aims for global representation on its board, particularly within the asset owner positions. For the extra asset owner position, due to the resignation of Marcus Madureira (PREVI, Brazil), the board is encouraging candidates from South America.
The board is encouraging all candidates with leadership and governance experience. Candidates will also be asked to elaborate in their statements on their demonstrated leadership within responsible investment, ESG expertise and other experience relevant to the long-term success of the PRI. The current gender balance amongst the elected directors is fairly evenly balanced (six males; five females). However, two female directors are coming to the end of their first terms in 2018. The board is therefore also encouraging female candidates.
Signatory participation in the signatory voting in October and November is important. The PRI is a membership organisation and to continue to thrive we need to engage signatories with relevant work and activities, and signatories need to keep engaged and active in our governance. The PRI will be asking signatories to elect four new directors, approve the SGM minutes, confirm the auditor and vote for the PRI Annual Report and Accounts.
I encourage you to read the full board report. The report is an overview of the work undertaken by the board over the past year, how we work together and with the executive. The report includes our focus on organisational purpose; the leadership of the board; integrity measures; decision-making processes, risks and controls; actions to improve our effectiveness; how we are thinking about board diversity and communicating this to signatories; and our efforts to be open and accountability to signatories.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the PRI’s governance with me or have any questions about the proposals for my second three-year term, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Board discussions during the year
- 2018-21 PRI strategy, long-term funding and measures
- Signatory accountability – minimum requirements
- Showcasing signatory leadership
- PRI Academy
- Fiduciary duty in the 21st century
- Stewardship codes and the PRI’s role
- Sustainable Stock Exchanges
- Sustainable Development Goals
- High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance
- Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance
- Service Provider reporting via the PRI Reporting Framework
- PRI Reporting Framework and TCFD alignment
- Investment consultants sustainable financial system project
- Asset owner recruitment and coverage
- US market
- PRI in Person
- Signatory categorisation guidelines
- Signatory accountability - serious violation of the Principles
- Chair second term nomination
- Signatory General Meeting key messages
- Whistleblowing policy
- 2017 PRI Board election results
- 2018 PRI Board elections guidance and process
- CEO performance assessment
- Chair performance assessment, contract and priorities
- Signatory and stakeholder interaction
- PRI Board committee reports
- Chair report
- Management report
- Executive pay review and pension contributions
- 2018-19 budget and mid-year review
- Staff engagement survey results
- Human resources policies
2018 Signatory General Meeting
The 2018 Signatory General Meeting (SGM) will be at 10:45-12:15 on Wednesday 12 September 2018 in the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, as part of PRI in Person.
1. Welcome address and PRI Board report
Martin Skancke, Chair, PRI Board
2. Management and financial report
Fiona Reynolds, CEO, PRI
Martin Skancke, Chair, PRI Board and Fiona Reynolds, CEO, PRI
4. 2018 board director elections
Martin Skancke, Chair, PRI Board
The PRI wants to encourage an active dialogue between signatories and the Board. The SGM, the annual general meeting of signatories, is an important forum for communication between the board and signatories. The board encourages signatory participation, either in person, via webcast or for those outside the time zone by submitting questions in advance. The SGM is an opportunity for the board to report to signatories on the PRI’s strategy and its implementation; the work undertaken by the board and its committees; forthcoming board elections; formal consultations and any other business.
The SGM will be webcast for signatories that cannot attend in person. For more information on how to participate by webcast and submit questions in advance, click here.
The PRI sought input from signatories on the Signatory General Meeting (SGM) draft agenda in June 2018 and invited signatories to contribute agenda items and resolutions to be put to a vote.
No agenda items or resolutions were received by the deadline of 12 July. However, time has been set aside for signatories to ask questions. If you have detailed financial or legal questions, please submit these by 10 September to firstname.lastname@example.org.