Poland gets RI boost via recommendations to government for €58bn private pensions market

RI panel outlines steps for promotion amongst investors and advisors.

Responsible investment in Poland was given a major boost this week when an advisory panel initiated 18 months ago by Prime Minister Donald Tusk delivered a series of recommendations to the government and the country’s social partners to kick off education programmes and potential future legislative guidance. The recommendations were presented at a conference in Gdansk on Monday (September 5), put together as part of Poland’s current presidency of the European Union. Under the initiative, Tusk created four broad sustainability advisory panels for CSR promotion, responsible investment, CSR education, and sustainable consumption. The responsible investment panel, made up of practitioners in the finance, social and ESG fields, suggested in its submission that transparency on the investment policies of Poland’s €58bn second pillar, private sector open-end pension funds could be the first step to the provision of better quality pension funds on the market. It also called for investment consultants and open-end funds run predominantly by asset managers and insurers, to take training on ESG issues such as extra-financial data inclusion and disclosure. A self-regulated CSR reporting standard for pension funds could also be introduced alongside a responsible investment evaluation process, it said. A resumé document released by the Polish Ministry of Economy, said: “Responsible investment may help to rebuild trust infinancial institutions. It can also prove to be a milestone on the road to socially responsible business. In this context it is still extremely important that the circles engaged in promotion of responsible investment shall actively work together in order to improve the reliability and credibility of data and to include social, ethical and environmental issues in the strategies of company management and investment capital management. The above-mentioned circles should especially include social partners as well as institutional and individual investors.” Dominika Wierzbowska of the Economy Development Department at the Ministry of Economy in Poland, said the outcome of the panel recommendations was likely to be a kind of “soft law” with Poland looking for its pension funds to be up to date with European Union moves towards the promotion of responsible investment. Martin Pitura, Manager at GES Investment Services Poland, the ESG research company, and a member of the responsible investment panel commissioned by the Polish government, said the recommendations were a major step forward for Poland: “There has been a lot happening in CSR in Poland, but if you look at the signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment there is not one Polish company. Therefore we are really pleased that something is starting to happen in an organised government context.”
Link to conference website