German government hires PWC to provide UN PRI guidance and workshop

Accountancy firm to develop handbook for signatories

Germany’s environment ministry has commissioned accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to develop a handbook and a workshop for German investors who are, or who are considering becoming, signatories to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.

Only nine of the hundreds of institutional investors in Germany have signed up to the PRI so far, though three of them, the insurer Allianz, re-insurer Munich Re and pension fund Bayerische Versorgungskammer are the country’s biggest.

Experts say that the reporting requirements – extensive, yearly and in English – are a hurdle to winning over more German investors.

The environment ministry, which wholeheartedly backs the PRI, is now taking the initiative to overcome this barrier.
“The handbook and the workshop are designed to lower investors’ reluctance to sign up to the principles and to help those who have signed up implement them,” wrote the ministry in a tender document seen by Responsible Investor.The ministry added that the winner of the commission must “provide deep analysis of the principles and explain their importance to investors” and “identify relevant gaps in the regulation of the financial sector”.

The handbook will be unveiled in November. PWC is also required to schedule a workshop where experts and investors share their experience with the PRI and their recommendations on how to implement the six principles.

PWC is part of the Integrated Reporting pilot programme and advises the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate on a common approach to corporate water disclosure. In March it released a study on the attitude of private equity firms towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

PWC, which is not a PRI signatory, was not able to provide further comment. A spokesman for the PRI in London said the organisation could not comment until late October.