Julia Prescot, Chief Strategy Officer, Meridiam
Julia is one of four candidates standing for the non-asset owner position on the PRI Advisory Council
RI suggested some prompt questions for the candidates:
1. Where (with examples) do you think your experience fits, and might enhance, the remit of the PRI Advisory Council?
2. What are the issues you will be campaigning on/pushing as an Advisory Council member, why, and how?
3. What is your vision of the future direction of the PRI and how can you contribute to its realization?
I am Julia Prescot of Meridiam, and I have put my name up to join the PRI Advisory Council in 2014. I wish to share with you my vision for the PRI along with how I feel I would effectively contribute to the initiative if elected, together with some information on my background.
I have served as a PRI signatory since 2010, and it is an initiative I firmly support. Our growing market-based economy has produced negative externalities—both social and environmental—that we must rectify and the PRI can and has been a key proponent of this. I am immensely proud of the PRI’s progress, but I am also aware of the extent to which we must push forward the Six Principles to ensure its continued success.
My vision for the PRI is an initiative that holds the power to inspire new voices, promote crucial issues of ESG and ensure a long-term sustainability. I am committed to working together with other PRI members and other likeminded individuals to carry out the goals of the PRI for a more sustainable, equal and well-governed world.
Looking toward the future, I am determined to demonstrate that responsible investment can also be financially rewarding, a belief that I hold strongly, but needs further evidence to present and promulgation to the investment community. We must work with the academic community to anchor this concept, as well as striving to capture the connection between sustainable investment approaches and performance. Finally, rather than embrace a one-size-fits-all framework, we must carefully tailor our approaches on the reportingframework to specific sectors so as to deliver data that accurately reflects that industry’s activity. Measuring impact will be a complex but rewarding task. I support the recommendations emanating from the recent PRI governance review supporting restructuring and allowing greater signatory input. As an asset manager, I feel as strongly as any other group in the PRI that ESG is critical to investment and am keen to provide a voice for the asset manager community.
Given the global nature of the PRI, I think that my international background makes me extremely well qualified to serve on its Board. I commenced my working career in the City of London, but since that time I have been engaged in banking, investment and infrastructure finance worldwide, in both developed and developing nations. In 2005, I was involved at the inception of Meridiam, the long term infrastructure fund, and promoted ESG from its earliest days, in developing the Ethics Charter and the Meridiam vision statement promoting the delivery of sustainable infrastructure improving the quality of peoples’ lives. My most recent activities have focused on North America, the Eurozone and Africa. My experience is truly global and creating a responsible investment climate has been a top priority throughout my career.
As for my current role, I am proud that ESG issues are at the core of Meridiam’s mission and values. From the earliest stages of projects, I am involved in environmental and social screening, and each of our projects has to pass an exacting assessment. We continue to monitor our commitments regularly, and are looking to measure the carbon usage of each of our subsidiary companies. Each year, we publish a document covering all of our ESG activities as we strive for greater transparency.
Moreover, co-founding Women Leaders in Infrastructure (WLI) and acting as the President of the Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation has placed issues of social equality and environmental sustainability as my top priorities. With the WLI, I focus on issues relating to female equality particularly in securing senior level positions as well as mentoring younger women to rise up to such senior positions. The Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation was created to address the gap in infrastructure delivery, specifically in the developing world. In addition, I have worked to develop education in investment together with lecturing at University College, London in connection with their newly launched Infrastructure Finance MSc.