Following the tragic events of the past week, the PRI joins people around the world in great compassion for the people of Ukraine. The human cost of the crisis is horrifying, with half a million displaced civilians in less than five days and scores of injuries and deaths on both sides of the conflict. 

We hope that any family and friends of signatories in Ukraine are staying safe. We’re doing our utmost to support any PRI colleagues affected by the situation, and you are each no doubt doing the same for colleagues in your own organisations.  

This is a regional attack, but a fundamentally global human issue – with broad reaching implications for global markets and international relations. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is deemed a serious threat to our rules-based international order by the leaders of the G7. The OECD Council has condemned the large-scale aggression by Russia against Ukraine as a clear violation of international law. Leaders from the African Union, Latin America and Asia Pacific have called on Russia to respect international law, human rights and humanitarian law, and to restore peace.   

We are facing the devastating and irreversible short-term human cost of this war along with the long-term societal cost of taking focus off our shared sustainability goals. Global markets and governance require international cooperation, peace, and stability. Global disorder and a new cold war will impact  the protection and promotion of human rights, forced displacement of civilians and hugely increase long-term environmental, social, and economic risks. The dynamics of conflict and disruption violate human rights, exacerbate existing social tensions and inequalities and threaten the prospects for climate action. 

Currently, we are assessing what this means for us and our signatories, and are focusing on two key aspects:  

  • Possible implications for PRI on sanctions on financial activities and actors which may include our signatories or the entities that control them  
  • And the implications from a responsible investment and ESG outcome perspective (for example, relating to energy transition, business and human rights through the lens of the UNGPs, and the functioning of international institutions) 

The PRI is a UN supported organisation. As such, we will observe and uphold upcoming decisions and positions communicated by the UN. In addition, as the PRI is headquartered in London, we will be assessing the implications of all UK government decisions for our operations and signatories. Our ongoing work on climate and EU policy is directly impacted by the present situation. We will further analyse the implications on energy transition, the Fit for 55 package and broader human rights implications.  

At this time our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and for everyone affected by recent tragic events. If you have any concerns or questions, please do reach out to your local PRI Relationship Manager.

Best wishes,

David Atkin, CEO of the PRI

Editor’s note, March 7, 2022: Note that since the time of this letter’s publication, PRI has taken the decision to delist VTB Capital Asset Management, which is on the UK sanctions list.