Notes from the PRI Board: Xander den Uyl

An active participant in the CWC for the last ten years, Xander den Uyl was recently elected to the UN PRI board for his second mandate as an asset owner. He will provide us with quarterly reports from the PRI board meetings.

In the 2018 board elections I was re-elected (thank you for all the support I got from the CWC!!!!) together with Angele Emslie form Hesta Australia. New to the board is Laetitia Tankwe of Ircantec France. Sadly Priya Mathur, a strong advocate for labour and social issues has left the board because she has left Calpers. There probably will be a midyear election.

The PRI reporting season has started. Although it is much work to fill in the annual reporting, it provides a comprehensive guide of ESG performance of asset owners and asset managers. There is now more attention to the question of social and environmental impact of investments, which is closely related to the SDGs. It seems logical to add a (for the time being) voluntary SDG module. The board will conduct a survey with the signatories regarding the reporting framework.

Reporting is closely related to the goal of driving meaningful data through the system, one of the PRI Blueprint priorities. Last year’s survey among PRI asset owner signatories made it clear that asset owners give much weight to the issue of clear ESG data.

The PRI is working with other global organisations who are active in this field, addressing issues that include setting reporting principles on meaningful data, establishing a system of global integrated corporate ESG reporting, standardizing asset manager reporting to asset owners and improving standards of reporting to clients/beneficiaries/savers - especially in a DC context. Whether or not the PRI should involve itself in this last field is still being discussed.

The PRI is heavily involved with the EU Sustainable Taxonomy. This is a list of economic activities that are considered environmentally sustainable relative to EU environmental policy objectives. The social element is scheduled to be included later. Personally, I am very concerned that the social dimension of the sustainable taxonomy will be moved forward to the distant future. The Taxonomy is one of four policy design projects. The others are Green Bonds Standard; disclosure (on climate); and climate related benchmarks.

Finally, the board reflected on a successful PRI in Person in San Francisco. As in previous years, panels that include workers who speak to the reality on the ground were very well received.

The 2019 PRI in person will be held in Paris. With 1500 delegates it will be the largest PRI in Person ever.