Director of Reporting, Assessment & Accountability
Principles for Responsible Investment
Hi Mandy, can you tell us about your background and your role at the PRI?
I’ve been at PRI since 2014, and have overseen the rollout of mandatory investor reporting for PRI signatories, both investors and service providers. This has helped us to create the largest global dataset on responsible investment activities, and in general encouraged and supported transparency and disclosure by investors, sharing good practice. Previously, I advised international companies across a range of sectors on sustainability risks and opportunities, and so have a good understanding of risks along the value chain.
Right now there seems to be some real momentum behind sustainable finance -for example, the issue of the EU Commission Action Plan on Sustainable Finance in March. What can the industry do to continue to keep this going?
The response at the EU level has been driven in part by industry interest in sustainable finance. The PRI now has 2000 signatories, covering over US$80 trillion in assets under management across the globe. They have committed to our Principles that cover incorporation of ESG factors in investment decision making, being an active owner and being transparent about their own actions. We’ve been able to tell a story of growing momentum because of the data our signatories provide, which shows that sustainable finance can be approached through an impact lens or a very mainstream lens that looks to manage ESG risks and maximise opportunities. This is complimented by other reporting frameworks aimed at corporates that are increasingly providing information to investors.
What role do you believe the regulators have to play regarding sustainability in the investment industry?
Regulators have an important role to signal the importance of sustainable finance – to indicate that the traditional view of finance needs to be broader and to understand critical factors like climate. They are also able to create explicit references to ESG in regulation, to require monitoring of issues and to link to the broader policy framework.
In your experience, what can be done to encourage investors and managers to participate more in sustainable finance, aside from the setting of regulatory directives?
One great example of voluntary investor action in this area is the response to the FSB Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosure. We saw 500 investors choose to disclose against this framework in our reporting this year, which we believe was driven by the rigorous and inclusive nature of the TCFD process, and that it focused on existing frameworks that delivered. Providing clear pathways for investor action and ensuring we follow up to share learning and best practice, will help move the industry forward.
Where do you see the landscape for sustainable investment heading in the next couple of years?
We are looking at developments at the EU level and in particular the development of the sustainable finance taxonomy by the Technical Expert Group, which is complimenting activity by standard setters and regulators in the UK and internationally. Building on that momentum and providing a flexible but consistent framework will be essential to progress.
Mandy Kirby will be speaking more on this at the upcoming Regulations & Compliance Summit in London 18-19th September. Here she will be joined by 40 other senior experts leading the way in the field and addressing the same questions as you on challenges such as Brexit, MiFID, Cross Border Distribution, Reactive to Proactive and much more.