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Principles for Responsible Investment Forum Attracts Record Attendance

(San Francisco) – The UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) – an initiative co-developed by the UN Global Compact and the UNEP Finance Initiative – convened its third annual conference in San Francisco on 5-6 October, an event that drew record numbers of institutional investors.

Nearly 350 investors from all continents – representing assets owners, asset managers, and other financial experts – attended the two-day event, which focused on a range of topics related to the growing field of responsible investment – defined as the integration of environmental, social and corporate governance issues into long-term investment processes and decision-making.

The event took place amid a new milestone in the development of the PRI – since July 2009 approximately 260 instititional investors have endorsed the PRI, bringing the total number of endorsers to more than 800, representing US $2 trillion in assets under management.

“This conference demonstrates that the responsible investment movement – nascent only a few years ago – is taking firm root in the global financial markets,” said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact. “More and more institutions see that managing environmental, social and governance issues must be a key part of their investment-decision making across all asset classes. And in light of the recent financial crisis, the tenets of responsible investment have arguably never been more important”.

In addition to co-developing the PRI, the UN Global Compact sits on the Board of the PRI initiative, which is based in London.

Mr Power added that investors are increasingly using the UN Global Compact as a policy framework in assessing investment opportunities and in engaging with investee companies and other assets. Indeed, UN Global Compact officials provided a number of briefings, presentations, and updates at the event, including:

  • The Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership. This discussion focused on the UN Global Compact’s new model (and a related upcoming initiative) for advanced sustainability peformance. (Access the Blueprint.)
  • The UN Global Compact’s Differentiation Programme. This session centered on the UN Global Compact’s new model related to corporate disclosure and reporting and its relevance for investors. (Review the new differentiation programme.)
  • Managing Investment Risks in Conflict-Affected Areas. This briefing addressed a new guidance document issued by the UN Global Compact and the PRI designed to help companies and investors manage operations and investments in conflict-related or high-risk areas. (Access the new guidance document: English | 中文).

In addition to these projects and resources, Mr Power noted that signatories to the PRI are also utilizing the UN Global Compact’s various frameworks, sub-initiatives and tools via the PRI Clearinghouse – an on-line platform for investor collaboration.

Access the Principles for Responsible Investment and the agenda of the conference.

Gavin Power
Deputy Director
UN Global Compact