EU awards €225k to joint venture for ESG education project

ICGN, PRI and EFFAS join forces to build professional development programme.

The European Union (EU) has awarded a major grant worth about €225,000 ($307,000) to a joint ESG education programme created by the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the European Federation of Financial Analyst Societies (EFFAS). Earlier this year, the EU tendered for the funding award of up to €250,000 to co-finance an innovative project with the aim of prompting mainstream investors to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) information into their valuations of companies. The winning programme led by the ICGN and the secretariat of the PRI, together with EFFAS, will, over the next 18 months, build a professional development programme and guidance on best practice in the integration of ESG information into investment decisions. The European Union will finance 50% with ICGN, PRI and EFFAS funding the balance for a total cost of approximately €450,000. European Commission Vice-President, Antonio Tajani, will announce the funding as part of a broader programme to support the uptake of corporate social responsibility (CSR), financed under the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.Tajani said: “The transformation to a sustainable economy will be driven by industry and investors together. Europe’s enterprises need to know that their shareholders understand how social, environmental and governance performance affects financial performance. Bringing together some of the leading organisations in the field, this ambitious programme will build on current best practice and help to make adequate consideration of material non-financial information the norm amongst investors and analysts. It will enable investors to calculate the long term value of companies more accurately, and generate greater recognition from the market for sustainable, responsible and innovative business practices.”
Kerrie Waring, ICGN’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The development of a training programme tailored specifically for investors will help equip them with the right skills and knowledge to engage more effectively with companies on ESG issues. This is an opportunity for the investment community, with trillions of dollars of assets under management, to work together with the European Commission in pursuit of a common goal – sustainable value creation in the long-term.”