RI Europe 2013: Finland’s Ilmarinen welcomes new PRI reporting framework

Leading institution backs substantial changes to key PRI initiative

The Principles for Responsible Investment’s long-gestated new reporting framework for its signatories has been welcomed by leading Finnish institutional investor Ilmarinen.

“It has changed substantially, which is a good thing,” said Anna Hyrske, the Head of Responsible Investments at the €30bn pension insurer who sits on the PRI’s assessment committee. She was speaking on a panel at the RI Europe 2013 conference in London.

Hyrske, who is also on the board at Finsif, Finland’s Sustainable Investment Forum, said the new version, which follows a lengthy consultation, “has made a world of difference”. Hyrske reckoned the framework was “too burdensome” in its original incarnation.

The first draft would have seen “not too many happy asset owners in this room”.

The reporting framework is important, not least because it will result, for the first time, in a set of baseline public data about the environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities of the PRI’s 1,200 signatories, who oversee some $35trn in assets.Initial reaction to the first version of the framework had been greeted by what former PRI Director of Responsible Investment Rob Lake admitted were “very, very strong opinions” from signatories. Lake, who was moderating the panel and speaking in a personal capacity, said most were resistant to making disclosures about ESG outcomes.

The upshot is that the PRI has reduced the amount of questions that signatories will have to answer by about a third.

One issue that is still not set in stone, Hyrske said, was how the voluntary, qualitative section of the questionnaire would be scored.

Lake, who now has his own consulting firm, reckoned the level of disclosure required would be less than that of the commended reports in the RI Reporting Awards.

The PRI’s final reporting framework will be released in October this year, when its online reporting tool opens. This will result in signatories’ publicly available RI Transparency Reports being released to the PRI website.