The PRI is developing a new collaborative stewardship initiative on nature. We will convene a group of investors, who will use their voice and influence to drive positive outcomes for nature.
Endorser sign-ups are open
Endorsers publicly sign the Spring investor expectation statement, signalling their support for the initiative’s objectives and strategy.
Endorsers are required to be a PRI signatory asset owner, investment manager or service provider. Endorsers who outsource their stewardship activities are encouraged to request that their investment managers and service providers either apply to take part in Spring or align their own engagements to the initiative’s objectives. There are no other joining requirements, and endorsers retain complete discretion over their engagement activities.
While investors can sign-up as an endorser at any time throughout the initiative, the first set of endorsers will be publicly announced in early 2024. Therefore, investors are encouraged to sign-up by 19 January 2024 to be included in this list.
In early 2024, applications will open to investors interested in taking part as a participant (i.e. as a lead or collaborating investor). PRI signatories interested in joining the initiative as a participant are encouraged to sign-up as an endorser in the meantime, to signal their support for the initiative and be involved during its development.
Why an initiative on nature?
The initiative’s objective is for investors to contribute to the goal of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. This is aligned with the goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
Biodiversity loss is a systemic issue, with direct and indirect effects across the entire economic and financial systems. Investors are highly exposed to systemic risks like biodiversity loss. Universal owners and long-term investors have a limited ability to diversify their portfolios away from the impacts of such issues. Stewardship activities, particularly when carried out in collaboration with other investors, are an essential tool for managing risk, as well as driving more sustainable real-world outcomes.
The initiative is part of the PRI’s wider support to signatories on managing nature-related risks and opportunities.
What is the initiative’s approach to addressing nature loss?
Our initial focus will be on forest loss and land degradation, as a key driver of biodiversity loss, and will likely expand to other drivers of biodiversity loss as the initiative develops further.
The initiative will focus on enabling policy alignment and implementation across geographies to help generate positive outcomes for nature and investor portfolios. Focusing investor efforts on policy will make it more likely that systemic risks are addressed across economic sectors and at an appropriate pace.
Investors can help foster policy alignment through two broad approaches:
- Directly through their own engagement with policymakers, and
- Indirectly through their engagement with investees, with regards to their responsible corporate political engagement.
The initiative will focus on the latter approach in the first instance. The PRI also continues to support existing, successful investor initiatives focusing on direct investor engagement with policymakers, such as the Investor Policy Dialogue on Deforestation (IPDD).
In June 2023, we appointed a signatory advisory committee and technical advisory group. These advisory groups are responsible for providing strategic input into strategy and overall initiative development.
On 4th October 2023, we opened endorser sign-ups. Endorsers are able to sign up at any time throughout the initiative, however the first set of endorsers of the initiative will be publicly announced in early 2024, therefore investors are encouraged to sign-up by 19 January 2024 to be included in this list.
In early 2024, we expect to release our focus company list and begin recruiting initiative participants, who will carry out day-to-day engagement activities with selected companies.
Will the initiative focus solely on companies’ political engagement practices?
No – the initiative will seek to influence positive outcomes for nature using all levers available to participating investors.
When engaging with companies, a particular focus will be on their responsible political engagement practices, given the importance of strong public policy design and implementation. However, companies’ own operations and supply chains may also be the subject of engagement activities where such a focus is necessary to achieve the initiative’s goal of contributing to halting and reversing biodiversity loss.
Why was forest loss and land degradation prioritised as the first thematic focus of the initiative?
Forest loss and land degradation (FLLD) has been prioritised as the first driver of biodiversity loss which will be addressed through PRI’s stewardship initiative due to:
- Its significant contribution to the climate and biodiversity crises;
- Existing PRI expertise, developed during past programmes on deforestation and sustainable commodities; and
- A strong investor demand for PRI to convene a stewardship initiative on this topic.
A phasing-in of further drivers of biodiversity loss will be scoped in 2023, for example to address drivers of biodiversity loss in other realms (e.g., oceans, freshwater).
What will the initiative’s governance and structure look like?
PRI staff will be responsible for designing, coordinating and leading the initiative, and they are supported by two advisory bodies:
- Signatory advisory committee: a group of 18 PRI signatories with strong experience in stewardship and addressing nature-related issues. This group provides strategic advice about the initiative to the PRI.
- Technical advisory group: 10+ PRI stakeholders, such as civil society representatives and academics with deep expertise on nature. This group will provide technical and scientific advice related to nature to the PRI.
The Investor Working Group (IWG) will be made up of investors responsible for carrying out day-to-day engagement activities with focus companies and other stakeholders. Members of this group are referred to as ‘Participants’.
Who will be able to join the initiative?
Endorsers are required to be a PRI signatory asset owner, investment manager or service provider. There are no other joining requirements, and endorsers retain complete discretion over whether and how to support any given engagement activity.
Further information on the joining requirements of those seeking to sign-up as a participant will be shared in early 2024.
How will the PRI work with existing collaborative initiatives? Which initiative(s) do you advise investors to join?
The PRI is supportive of any initiative which increases and improves the effectiveness of investor action on nature. Our aim is not to duplicate efforts, but rather to complement existing work by other initiatives through information-sharing and collaboration agreements, where mutually beneficial for all parties.
We are working closely with those coordinating Nature Action 100, Finance Sector Deforestation Action and others to ensure our programmes of work complement and reinforce each other as much as possible by aligning our strategy and communications.
We encourage investors to join multiple initiatives where they have capacity to do so, as we believe that multiple approaches are required to achieve our common goal of halting nature loss.
How will companies be selected and when will a focus company list be published?
We are using a three-part process to obtain this list: (a) identify priority geographies where deforestation is taking place; (b) determine which policy arenas are impacting deforestation rates in priority geographies (policy arenas could be domestic, but also located in consuming countries or part of international processes); (c) identifying strongest corporate influence in selected policy arenas.
Company prioritisation is currently underway, and we will be able to share more information in early 2024.
If I sign the statement, will I have to engage with the companies?
No. Endorsers (i.e. investors who sign the expectation statement) signal their support for the initiative’s objectives and strategy. They do not participate in engagement activities within the initiative. Endorsers who wish to engage companies via the intiative will be invited to apply to participate in Spring in early 2024.
Endorsers who outsource their stewardship activities are encouraged to request that their investment managers and engagement service providers with responsibility for engagement apply to take part in Spring or commit to aligning their own engagements to the objectives of the initiative.
How do I sign up to engage with companies?
The application window for Participants (i.e. investors who sign up to engage with companies as part of the initiative) has not been opened yet. It is likely to open in early 2024, once the focus company list has been published.
In the meantime, you can sign up to be an Endorser, by signing up to the investor expectation statement. Endorsers will go through a simplified application process to become Participants.
Please contact email@example.com if you have further questions.
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