ShareAction chief proposes partnership with PRI to promote UN Sustainable Development Goals

Howarth wants to involve World Economic Forum’s young leaders group

ShareAction, the UK-based responsible investment campaign group, has proposed working with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) on promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

ShareAction Chief Executive Catherine Howarth proposed the partnership with the PRI and the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders group “to help this thing take off”. The PRI said it would welcome the opportunity to work with ShareAction and other stakeholders on the initiative.

Howarth, herself a Young Global Leader in 2014, was speaking at an event in London today (March 23) to launch a new study of how institutional investors can support the SDGs. She said: “This is just the start.” Founding PRI Executive Director James Gifford was a YGL in 2010. Current YGLs include names like Poppy Allonby, Managing Director and Co-Head of BlackRock’s Energy Business and celebrities like Amal Clooney and Ashton Kutcher.The event, hosted by Old Mutual, focused on the role investors can play in taking the goals forward. PRI Managing Director Fiona Reynolds said: “These are investment issues and can’t be ignored.” She wondered how the SDGs could be incorporated with ESG (environmental, social and governance).

She added that the PRI, as part of its 10-year anniversary, was working on a RI blueprint for the next 10 years which would look to incorporate the SDGs. But she said the SDGs weren’t mentioned in a recent survey of its signatories.

The 17 SDGs were launched by the UN in September last year and Reynolds said only CalPERS among global investors was in attendance – though there were hundreds of companies.

Jane Ambachtsheer, Global Responsible Investment head at Mercer, in a question from the floor, asked whether the SDGs could be integrated into the PRI’s reporting and assessment framework and Reynolds said the PRI would look into it.