Field Report from London

Announcing the new Responsible Investor’s Guidebook at the UN PRI in Person Events

September 23, 2015 - I wanted to provide a short report on the success of my recent trip to London to attend the UN PRI in Person conference and the Workers’ Capital Conference, convened by the capital stewards of the Global Trade Unions. London was more wild and crazy than expected (they drink a lot of pints, them Brits do), though the week’s news was dominated by the human crisis playing out on the Continent. It brought into context the plight of millions of people caught in the crossfires of civil wars and regional conflicts, and the fact that the struggles of migrants have an impact on all of us.

As part of a panel presentation on workers’ rights, I announced the pending release of the Responsible Investor Guidebook at the Committee on Workers’Capital (CWC) of the Global Trade Unions in London recently. The CWC meeting was an adjunct event, of sorts, of the the larger UN PRI in Person conference, which was held the same week. The CWC meeting was a productive meeting of pension fund trustees, trade union representatives and capital stewardship staff. It aims to mobilize workers capital to support human and labor rights, and integrate ESG concerns with long term financial sustainability.

My presentation at the CWC event was part of a panel called: “Embedding pro-labour practices & policies for responsible investment.” You can read the presentation below.

Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director, PRI, provided a glowing testimonial for the Guidebook, and we’re really thankful to her and the PRI staff who made that happen. In a private meeting, Ms. Reynolds explained that the PRI is pivoting to make a big push toward the States in the coming year. The global organization is on a tear to sign up more US institutional investors, banks and asset managers as PRI signatories. Ms. Reynolds views the new book as a great vehicle in that regard. PRI staff have already made a request to borrow passages from our volume in a new report they will soon be releasing.

As for the PRI event itself, it drew 500 signatories and1,100 participants and was an exciting event, though a bit overwhelming. At the PRI’s annual Signatory General Meeting Martin Skancke and Fiona Reynolds laid the foundations for the PRI’s next phase of evolution as we approach our 10-year anniversary next year. You can read the report on the conference on the UN PRI website.

During the PRI week, the organization released it its latest publication, Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century, which will finally show that fiduciary duty can no longer be used as a barrier to implementing ESG principles. As Ms. Reynolds says in the report, "Failing to consider longer-term drivers like ESG... is actually a failure of fiduciary duty." We've posted that report below.


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