A progression pathway is a step-by-step journey for PRI signatories to develop and progress their responsible investment practice. This paper proposes two initial concepts for signatories to consider. Over the remainder of 2023, and in 2024, we will invite signatories to share their ideas, concerns and design preferences to help us develop a Progression Pathways framework that is practical and consistent with their needs.

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Executive summary

The Progression Pathways respond to a key finding of the PRI in a Changing World consultation: the need to better target support and incentivise signatory progression on responsible investment. It includes initial proposals on the Progression Pathways for responsible investors and begins the co-design process with PRI signatories.

A progression pathway is a step-by-step journey for signatories on responsible investment practice.

During the PRI in a Changing World consultation between September 2022 and January 2023, 95% of respondents agreed that they expected to progress in their responsible investment activities, while 83% wished to demonstrate their progress in terms more relevant to them than is currently possible. As the PRI’s signatory base has grown, so have the challenges in differentiating and supporting the activities of signatories at different levels of advancement.

A framework for progressing responsible investment can respond to these needs, by making it clearer to clients and beneficiaries, and stakeholders, what PRI signatories’ intentions and actions as responsible investors mean in practice for their investments and for a sustainable world. The Progression Pathways can better tailor guidance, tools, reporting and accountability expectations, and create more relevant communities of practice. 

This document contains two initial concepts for the Progression Pathways. The concepts reflect feedback already received in the PRI Changing World consultation. The pathways will be voluntary to join.

One concept is based on investor purpose – whether investors’ primary approach to responsible investment involves (i) focusing on incorporating environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, (ii) addressing the drivers of financially material sustainability risks or (iii) actively pursuing sustainability outcomes beyond financial materiality.  

The other is based on investors’ approach to specific issues, such as climate change, human rights and biodiversity, and how these are reflected in investment practices.  

The publication of this paper constitutes the launch of a co-design process with signatories. Over the remainder of 2023, and in 2024, signatories are invited to engage with the PRI on their preferences for the Progression Pathways.

The co-design process will continue iteratively to ensure the Progression Pathways are practical and useful, consistent with the needs of PRI signatories. 

Find out more about Progression Pathways and how you can get involved.