There is a growing view among investment professionals that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios. Investors fulfilling their fiduciary (or equivalent) duty therefore need to give appropriate consideration to these issues, but to date have lacked a framework for doing so. The Principles for Responsible Investment provide this framework.
The Principles are voluntary and aspirational. They are not prescriptive, but instead provide a menu of possible actions for incorporating ESG issues into mainstream investment decision-making and ownership practices.
Signing represents a very real commitment to the Principles, demonstrating support from the top-level leadership of the whole investment business. And applying the Principles should not only lead to better long-term financial returns but also a closer alignment between the objectives of institutional investors and those of society at large.