By David Atkin, PRI CEO
PRI in a changing world
The past year has been one of change, challenge and opportunity for responsible investors. Operating in an environment intensified by geopolitical events, and against a backdrop of increased debate around ESG investing, investors’ role in contributing to sustainable capital markets has continued to be critical. The PRI’s role, working with our signatories to navigate change and to take advantage of opportunities, continues to be an important one.
I was very pleased to join as CEO in December last year. With responsible investment entering the mainstream, my focus is to help the PRI mature as the organisation continues to grow, and to ensure it stays relevant. The PRI needs to be agile, to be relevant across its broad and diverse signatory base and to further advance investors’ role in responsible investing around the world.
First and foremost, as a signatory-based organisation, we must put our signatories at the centre of decision making and ensure we provide value to them. This includes conducting the PRI in a Changing World signatory consultation on the PRI’s mission and purpose in the second half of this year.
Delivering for our signatories
Ensuring that we have an operating model that delivers for a growing and diverse signatory base is a key priority. A significant amount of work is already underway across areas including organisation design, workforce management, infrastructure, processes and products/services, to enable us to deliver the best possible signatory offering.
From an asset owner in China to a private equity firm in the US, each has its own needs. To effectively serve this varied group, there may be opportunities to align content more closely with different signatory types and to make processes and services as efficient and robust as possible – without losing our global focus.
An investment in our digital strategy to reach signatories more effectively – especially in a post-COVID world – forms part of this work. This includes how we convene signatories through our events – for example, for the first time this year our flagship event, PRI in Person & Online, will be hybrid, welcoming stakeholders from around the world to the venue in Barcelona both in-person and remotely.
The PRI’s success will depend both on the organisation’s own operating model, and on signatories’ active engagement to progress the Principles. The PRI is a joint initiative with its signatories of all types – with a shared goal of creating a more prosperous world for all.
Putting the right structures in place
Early in my tenure as CEO we ran recruitment for a new Chief Operating Officer and Chief Reporting Officer – the latter being a new executive-level role to oversee our critical reporting and assessment work. This work sits at the top of my agenda. The feedback we received from you over the past year has been invaluable and will ultimately shape the 2023 Reporting Framework. The team is now hard at work ensuring that it has a clear purpose and delivers signatory value.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
As with many of our signatories, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within our own organisation has been a strong area of focus at the PRI in the past year. A PRI DEI lead started in January, and we launched our new DEI strategy internally this year, which was approved by the board in July. Our work is centred around creating an inclusive culture, embedding strong governance, measuring our impact through data and sharing our progress through storytelling. We’ve seen some early successes here and look forward to further progress in the future.
I am tremendously optimistic about the road ahead for responsible investing. We are a signatory-led organisation and will focus on providing support to all investors across our key programmes of work – while remaining agile in a changing world.