PRI Board Report from Xander den Uyl

Xander den Uyl is an asset owner board member at the PRI. He provides regular reports to CWC participants. This report is from the July 2020 meeting.

PRI has spent a lot of time and effort over the last months on the issue of responsible investment and the COVID 19 pandemic. Many workers are not able to work in protected areas and there is not enough attention being paid to their health and safety.

Following consultation of PRI signatories, the COVID-19 work is focusing on five key areas:

1. COVID-19 and ESG in the AGM season;
2. Immediate human and labour rights concerns;
3. Ensuring a sustainable green and inclusive recovery
4. Financial system functioning in a time of crisis and
5. implications of COVID-19 for emerging markets.

The PRI has launched two new signatory participation groups on the Collaboration Platform to support phase two on COVID-19 and ESG in the 2020 AGM season and COVID-19 and the immediate human and labour rights issues.

The PRI’s first webinar on COVID-19 and ESG in the 2020 AGM season had almost 1,000 live and recorded views. PRI is also making use of podcasts, blogs and reports. All these resources are available and will continue to be published on the dedicated COVID-19 hub on the PRI website.

The PRI itself is doing well. The membership has been growing to more than 3000 signatories. More than 500 of these are asset owner signatories. Work is continuing, with staff working world wide from home. The board is meeting frequently in video calls spending much time on the next three year strategy of PRI.

In June PRI published the report; “ Investing with SDG outcomes; A five-part framework.” It signals that PRI is fully committed on common action of investors towards the realisation of Outcomes on the SDGs. Scaling up of efforts is urgently needed. Across the framework, the PRI will assist those signatories that are seeking to shape outcomes in line with the SDGs, in terms of both positive and negative outcomes. Key investor actions are: investment allocation, stewardship activities, engagement with policymakers and important stakeholders - all supported by disclosure and reporting. Such investor action can build on existing tools of responsible investment, but influencing SDG outcomes also involves new ways of thinking and new tools. Investors must also drive demand for more and better outcomes data, collaborative approaches, regulation etc.

The PRI is working hard on a new reporting framework, which consist of obligatory “core” questions and voluntary “plus” questions. In May, the PRI hosted seven webinars to update signatories on the Reporting and Assessment Review, to report how the findings of the consultation phase are being incorporated into the development of the new Reporting Framework. The webinars also sought to clarify and engage signatories on the progress made on the new Reporting Framework. We engaged with signatories to test and sense-check our approach, by asking participants ; if the ‘core’ and ‘plus’ model is clear, whether they agree with the inclusion of a C-level statement, and whether they agree with including a limited number of ‘core’ outcomes questions. Most participants responded positively to the polling questions. Many questions received from signatories were answered during the webinars and have also been added to an FAQ log, which will be analysed and added to the PRI website as part of communicating the new Reporting Framework to signatories.