By Toby Belsom, Director of Investment Practices, PRI, and Diba Ahour, Investment Practices Analyst, PRI
July will mark the half-way point between the creation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 target to achieve them. In a recent progress report on the SDGs, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, noted “the world faces cascading and interlinked global crises and conflicts, the aspirations set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are in jeopardy.”
Although the PRI’s Reporting Framework was not structured to measure progress on the 17 SDGs, the breadth and depth of the data collected through it can be evaluated as a proxy for how investors have responded to the sustainability challenges the SDGs were designed to alleviate.
Working alongside Aon’s Responsible Investment team, the PRI has published a report, Inside PRI data, that analyses data from almost 2,000 investment manager signatories that participated in the PRI’s 2021 reporting cycle. The report’s conclusions are derived from these responses and will be useful for:
- investment managers to review best practices against peers and across regions;
- asset owners who want to gain insights on practices at investment managers;
- the PRI to help us focus on areas where signatories are in need of development.
The analysis shows the value of the reporting framework. It provides a window into industry practice across investment policies; responsible investment practices; stewardship; disclosure and reporting; and approaches to climate-related risk. Word clouds and bar charts provide quick illustrations of the findings in the report, which complements an earlier analysis of similar data from asset owners. Both reports highlight the global reach of responsible investment practices, as noted by our research partner.
When doing this analysis, we were delighted to see that leading practice can be found among investment managers across the globe – in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania – showing that location is not a barrier to excellence in responsible investment.
Tim Currell, Head of Investment, International Wealth, Aon
However, the report also highlights areas for development including:
- expanded coverage of asset-class-specific ESG guidelines
- improved stewardship policies and their coverage
- clear accountability and governance for implementing responsible investment
- expanded client reporting on ESG information
- robust implementation of the TCFD recommendations
Since the data was collected, we have certainly seen signatories progress in the level of climate commitments, addressing a key element of the SDGs. However the SDG progress report mentioned earlier makes clear that most metrics (relating to education, poverty alleviation, health promotion and support for emerging markets) have gone backwards in recent years. As we enter the second half of the timeline to achieve the SDGs, the financial community will play a key role in reversing these trends. We hope this report will enable a better understanding of how signatories can improve processes, policies and practices that can contribute to meeting the SDG challenge over the coming decade.
The PRI blog aims to contribute to the debate around topical responsible investment issues. It is written by PRI staff members and occasionally guest contributors. Blog authors write in their individual capacity – posts do not necessarily represent a PRI view.