By David Atkin, CEO, Principles for Responsible Investment


For me, one of the highlights of the year is PRI in Person. Over the past fifteen years, our conference has travelled the world – providing an annual touchpoint for the global responsible investment (RI) community as we have grown from a niche area to a mainstay of investment practice.  

This year, we’re gathering in Toronto, Canada from 8-10 October, for three days of building partnerships, shaping strategy and driving progress. After a recent trip to Canada, I’m feeling energised about our location for this year’s conference, and excited to see how our host market seizes the opportunity to demonstrate its trajectory for a sustainable and equitable economic transition to our international audience.  

The responsible investment landscape in Canada

As a major economy, Canada is pivotal to achieving global sustainability goals. Much like my home country, Australia, there are some challenges due to its significant economic dependence on the energy sector, and particularly extractives-related activities. But the number of large funds committing to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is increasing, with investors attending to key social components of the low carbon transition - including indigenous reconciliation.  

As a major economy, Canada is pivotal to achieving global sustainability goals.

The market is also at an important inflection point when it comes to the implementation of foundational sustainable finance policy measures. The Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB) is currently consulting on draft equivalents to IFRS S1 and S2. Investors can use this opportunity to communicate how vital it is for the standards to be picked up by provincial and federal regulators and legislators, to ensure that Canada has a coherent sustainability disclosure regime for public and private issuers - from coast to coast to coast. The federal government has announced that there will be an update this year on plans for Canada to join the 40+ jurisdictions globally that are developing sustainable finance taxonomies. Ideally, this tool will provide the means to measure flows of capital consistent with Canada’s net zero commitments. 

2024 PRI in Person conference agenda now available

PRI in Person 2024 will reflect this context, alongside other global RI themes. We’ve recently published the conference agenda, featuring six streams of tailored content that will provide learning opportunities for investors at every stage of responsible investment, alongside inspiring plenary discussions designed to transcend regional priorities and address globally relevant subjects. 

A critical success factor for PRI in Person will be collaboration – with our sponsors, including Lead Sponsor Mackenzie Investments, with the Canadian Government, and with other partner organisations across the RI ecosystem. I was certainly inspired, on my recent visit to Montreal and Ottawa, by the energy and collaboration demonstrated by all stakeholders in the market.  

Sustainability issues will remain critically relevant and will continue to compound. We need to find a way to ensure that our momentum isn’t lost.

During my visit, I spoke at Finance Montréal’s Sustainable Finance Summit, where I was delighted to join a group of esteemed panellists to discuss the future of our industry. Here too, the role of cooperation was highlighted extensively by speakers from across Canada and beyond. I also visited Ottawa, where I had very positive meetings with federal policy makers. I invited them to demonstrate leadership at PRI in Person, by implementing measures informed by Sustainable Finance Action Council recommendations; and communicating how the government will enable investors to transition to a sustainable, effective and inclusive net-zero economy. 

A ’critical juncture’ for responsible investment

Turning back to our flagship conference, it will fall at a critical juncture for RI in North America. One month before the US election, we’ll continue to take stock of the constantly shifting external landscape and seek to support practitioners across our diverse and growing community with practical tools, knowledge and inspiration to overcome shared challenges and accelerate progress on responsible investment.  

Regardless of this and a number of other key election outcomes on the horizon, sustainability issues will remain critically relevant and will continue to compound. It’s never been more vital to maintain our momentum – and I hope you’ll be part of that effort.  


Tickets for PRI in Person are on sale now: visit PRI in Person 2024 - Progressing global action on responsible investment