(Sydney) – The Principles for Responsible Investment, the world’s largest responsible investment initiative, convened its annual conference in Sydney, Australia, on 16-17 July – an event that brought together more than 275 investors from nearly all regions of the world.
The conference – undertaken with the support of the Government of Australia and in partnership with the UN Global Compact and UNEP Finance Initiative – featured the release of the PRI’s Report on Progress – 2009, a comprehensive review of signatories’ progress on implementation.
Among the key findings:
Ninety-five percent of the respondents have been active owners, undertaking a total of 12,000 shareholder engagements with companies on such issues as the environment, corporate governance, and labour rights.
There was a 25 percent increase in the number of asset owners, such as pension funds, putting responsible investment elements into contracts for the external managers of their investment funds.
Shareholders are increasingly demanding that companies produce environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) information such as carbon emissions, and 90 percent of investors asked for standardized ESG reporting from listed equity issuers.
Donald MacDonald, Chair of the PRI Initiative and a Trustee of the BT Pension Scheme said: “The results of this year’s PRI Reporting and Assessment process show investors around the world are turning a corner on responsible investment, despite the largest financial crisis for a generation. We are still seeing progress in all areas of responsible investment from more shareholder engagement to more integrated use of ESG research”.
The general PRI conference featured a range of plenary and breakout sessions covering topics such as climate change; water; alternative investments; private equity; and fiduciary responsibility.
“This conference underscored not only the incredible growth of the PRI as an initiative, but also the expanding recognition by mainstream investors of the importance of integrating environmental, social and governance issues into investment analysis and decision-making”, said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact. “The financial crisis has served to highlight the importance of the long-term management of issues that can be material to corporate and investment performance”.
Launched in 2006, the UN-backed PRI today includes 560 signatories, representing over US$18 trillion in assets.
UN Global Compact