Between 2016 and 2020, the PRI and UNEP FI, with the generous financial support of The Generation Foundation, led an extensive research and policy engagement programme to end the debate on whether fiduciary duty is a legitimate barrier to the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in investment practice and decision-making.
This followed the original publication in September 2015 of Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century by the PRI, UNEP FI, UNEP Inquiry and UN Global Compact. The report concluded that “Failing to consider all long-term investment value drivers, including ESG issues, is a failure of fiduciary duty”. It also acknowledged that despite significant progress, many investors have yet to fully integrate ESG issues into their investment decision-making processes.
The project had three main components:
- Working with investors, governments and intergovernmental organisations, to develop and publish an international statement on fiduciary duty, which includes the requirement to integrate ESG issues into investment processes and practices.
- Publishing and implementing roadmaps on the policy changes required to achieve full integration of ESG issues in investment processes and practices across eight countries.
- Extending the research into fiduciary duties – and, more broadly, investor duties – to six Asian markets: China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.
Between 2016 to 2019, the project:
Engaged with over 400 policy makers and investors to raise awareness of the importance of ESG-issues to the fiduciary duties of investors.
- Published the Global Statement on Investor Obligations and Duties, which has now been signed by 124 signatories from 22 countries.
- Published and started to implement roadmaps on the policy changes required to achieve full integration of ESG issues into investment processes and practices across 11 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, UK and US).
- Extended the research into fiduciary duties – and, more broadly, investor duties – to six Asian markets: China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.
- Published ten related reports.
- Engaged with the European Commission and the HLEG (European Commission High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance) to help formulate recommendations on the clarification of investor duties throughout the European Union.
- Hosted over 20 workshops and conferences with investors and regulators in 15 countries to discuss regulatory clarification and investor practice on ESG integration as part of their fiduciary duty.
- The project was recognized by Investments and Pensions Europe with a gold award for Outstanding Industry Contribution in November 2017.
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