PRI plans annual ESG progress disclosure by signatories

Minimum transparency akin to Global Compact Communication on Progress under consultation.

Signatories to the $22 trillion United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) could soon have to publicly report on a set of annual minimum transparency requirements akin to the UN Global Compact’s ‘Communication on Progress’ for corporates, according to James Gifford, UNPRI executive director. Speaking to responsible-investor.com, Gifford said that issues of “transparent and measurable action” had become a major concern of many signatories to the 855-strong member organisation. Currently PRI signatories are asked to sign up to six principles and report on their implementation by the second year of membership, although making the report public is optional. Gifford said: “We have just started consultation on this, but the PRI board believes that signatories must be transparent about the actions that they are taking. We won’t expect signatories to expose commercially sensitive activities,but I think we could see something a bit like the Global Compact’s Communication on Progress. We’ve already seen great progress on reporting: we went from 35 in our first year of reporting to several hundred last year. We have to step up though because we are asking companies to be more transparent, so we have to make sure we are reciprocating.” Corporate signatories to the sister UN Global Compact currently produce a mandatory annual Communication on Progress, or COP, reporting on implementation of the Compact’s ten principles, which include policies on human rights, workplace standards, the environment and anti-corruption. In recent years, PRI signatories have written to companies that have missed the annual COP deadline over concerns that companies were signing up to the Compact and vaunting membership but failing to deliver on action.
Click to read the full RI interview with James Gifford, executive director of the UNPRI