The global investment sector has an important role in our economy; it is a channel for finding good investments for households’ savings and securing the effective management of assets through stewardship. The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative was founded based on the notion that investment decision-making did not sufficiently reflect the tenets of sustainable development. Over time, it brought together over 1500 investors and industry experts from all over the world, aiming to contribute to the development of a more sustainable global financial system.
Based on over 40 interviews, a survey filled out by over 450 stakeholders and extensive desk research, we have evaluated the impact of the PRI over the last decade and worked out recommendations for the years to come.
Our research applauds the PRI for putting responsible investment on the agenda of investors and policy makers and becoming the leading global investors’ platform for learning, engagement and the sharing of best practices on responsible investment. In addition, PRI is appreciated for being a ‘big tent’ organisation that helps new signatories embrace the basics of responsible investment on the one hand and facilitates a ‘race to the top’ amongst signatories on the other. This is a remarkable achievement in only 10 years.
However, while there is now significant awareness about responsible investment, implementation stills lacks depth: genuine integration of the Principles will require additional efforts.
For the PRI to progress responsible investment practices and support real world change, the report has three recommendations. We recommend the PRI to create more clarity and consensus about the purpose and ambition, to enhance focus and value added, and to improve the accountability process. In view of the global challenges we face 10 years on, and their impact on societies and the investment world, we argue that putting the Principles into practice is no longer something to aspire to, but now the only ‘rational’ choice facing investors.
The findings from the impact evaluation are used by the PRI to inform a broader signatory and stakeholder consultation exercise that the PRI runs from April – September 2016 about the future of the responsible investment industry, the impact it should seek to have over the coming decade, and the role the PRI should play in supporting this.