Submitted by United Nations Global Compact
July 4, 2007 - Geneva, Switzerland "“ A comprehensive survey of the world’s largest institutional investors released today shows that the global giants of investing are now actively integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their investment policies and engagement strategies.
Eighty-eight per cent of investment manager signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are conducting at least some shareholder engagement on ESG issues, while 82% of asset owners are doing so.
"These findings demonstrate that a sea change in global investing is underway", said James Gifford, Executive Director of the PRI Initiative, which includes more than 200 institutional investors representing more than US $9 trillion in assets. "More and more mainstream investors understand that ESG issues can be material to long-term results and therefore must be factored into investment processes".
'PRI Report on Progress 2007', released today at the PRI annual event in Geneva, highlights the results of a survey carried out to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the Principles by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the New York Stock Exchange in April 2006. The PRI are a set of best practice voluntary guidelines for institutional investors to assist in the integration of environmental, social and corporate governance issues into investment management and ownership practices.
While the results reveal that signatories are taking their commitments to implementing the Principles seriously "“ with plans to increase their level of responsible investment activity over the coming year "“ it also shows that there is still much to do.
Key results include:
The goal of the survey is twofold: to provide a baseline for assessing the progress of the Initiative and to draw out best practices from leading signatories as part of the peer-learning process.
PRI Executive Director James Gifford said, "This report is ground-breaking. Never before have the responsible investment practices of institutional asset owners and managers been evaluated in such a systematic way."
PRI Chair Donald MacDonald added, "While signatories are making significant progress in implementing the Principles, we recognise that there is still a lot to be done. What is especially pleasing is that signatories are committed to increasing their responsible investment activities considerably during 2007. This year's assessment is the beginning of an ongoing annual process that will be improved over time".
PRI signatories welcome the initiative, not only as a reporting tool but also to assist in the self-assessment process. "This reporting tool will be very helpful for us as a signatory," says Nada Villermain-Lecolier, Head of Responsible Investment for Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR) in France. "It provides a structured framework for contemplating and reporting our actions, and a mechanism for comparing our approach with that of our peers". Ms Villermain-Lecolier is a member of the PRI Assessment Group, which oversaw the development of the process.
Other significant results from the report include:
The full report is available on the PRI website at: http://www.unpri.org/report07.
For additional comment, please contact:
Chair of the PRI; Trustee, British Telecommunications Pension Scheme
+44 7 763 477 212 (Stirling, Scotland)
Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative
+41 79 353 1536 (Switzerland)
+61 411 886 592 (Australia)
Global Head of Responsible Investment
Mercer Investment Consulting
+1 416 868 2659 (Canada)
Background notes for editors:
The Principles for Responsible Investment, convened by the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact, was established as a framework to help institutional investors achieve better long-term investment returns and sustainable markets through better analysis of environmental, social and governance issues in investment process and the exercise of responsible ownership practices.
A full list of signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment is available from http://www.unpri.org/signatories/
The Principles themselves can be found at http://www.unpri.org/principles/
In February 2007, PRI signatories were asked to complete a questionnaire intended to assess their progress on implementing the six Principles for the period until the end of 2006 and into the early part of 2007. The questionnaire was structured around the six Principles, in a way that allowed all signatories the opportunity to report on progress regardless of their stage of PRI implementation. The questionnaire was completed by 62 asset owners and 44 investment managers. The overall response rate was 77%, with 85% of asset owners and 69% of investment managers participating. All respondents to the PRI’s annual Assessment and Reporting Tool will receive confidential feedback on their individual results, allowing them to determine relative positioning against peers.
The PRI Reporting and Assessment Tool was developed for the PRI Initiative by Mercer Investment Consulting with extensive input from the PRI Secretariat, the PRI Assessment Working Group, and a range of experts from signatory and other organisations.
The PRI’s first conference, PRI in Person, is to be held in Geneva on 3-4 July and is to be attended by 130 delegates from around the world.
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