UN PRI goes back to the drawing board on signatories’ reporting

Response to feedback process from signatories

The UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment is revising the yet-to-be introduced new way for its signatories to report how they implement the six PRI principles.

The body is postponing the launch of its new, more stringent, reporting framework until October 2013, following feedback that it was too difficult to complete.

The main revisions to the framework will now be released in mid-2013, according to the PRI’s website. Around the same time the new pilot assessment methodology will be released.

The final framework will now be released in October next year. The deadline for submission of the 2013/14 reporting cycle will be March 2014.

It all means that the next signatory assessment data will be released sometime in 2014. The most recent signatory-wide assessments were released in 2011 – under the old reporting process that has been discontinued. The 2012 assessments were a pilot for the new system and did not include all signatories. Signatories will still be gathering data internally, a PRI spokesperson said.

The PRI agreed to develop the new reporting framework in May 2011, to boost accountability, provide a standardised transparency tool and help facilitate development of capabilities.
But concern about the effort required to completethe assessments surfaced in the pilot conducted this year. There were issues raised about data security and client confidentiality. And the April-July reporting period was criticized as conflicting with the proxy-voting season. A summary of feedback and a document outlining the way forward has been released to signatories.

“We recognise that we could have done a more thorough job of communicating the feedback we received,” says PRI Advisory Council Chair Wolfgang Engshuber in a letter to signatories seen by Responsible Investor.

He was confident the final framework would provide the PRI’s diverse signatories with “greater flexibility to report their responsible investment activities in ways that best reflect each organisation’s unique approach, over a timeframe that is most appropriate for them.”

Another pilot process will take place in 2013/2014, with the assessment becoming a confidential component of the reporting process in 2014/2015.

Thirty signatories have signalled they want to take part in the pilot assessment process this year.

“I am confident that by working collaboratively with so many practitioners, the final framework will achieve our accountability, transparency, and learning goals while establishing a standardised set of indicators for responsible investment reporting globally,” Engshuber adds.