Celebrating Success at the PRI in Person

    Barcelona (NordSIP) – One of UN PRI’s annual conference highlights is announcing the winners of this year’s PRI Awards. Attending the ceremony in Barcelona, NordSIP brings you the news directly from the epicentre of events.

    For a couple of years now, the PRI has been regularly combing through signatories’ latest achievements and best practice to find examples worthy of recognition and showcasing. The prestigious PRI Awards are granted for individually excellent projects conducted by organisations of all sizes, specialization, and levels of development in one of five categories: ESG incorporation initiative of the year; ESG research innovation of the year; Real world impact of the year; Stewardship initiative of the year; and Emerging market initiative of the year. Signatories are invited to submit a case study in one of the categories. A jury of independent sustainability experts then scores each entry according to detailed, category-specific criteria.

    The winners of yesteryear, a follow-up

    To set the stage for this year’s awards, PRI has invited a previous year’s winning team to share their story. John Howchin, the former Secretary-General of the Swedish AP funds’ Council on Ethics and Adam Mathews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at the Church of England Pensions Board and Chair of the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), talk passionately about a project they have spearheaded since the start, engaging with mining companies on tailings dams. The award-winning project has led to the first global industry standard, and many companies have already committed to following it. “Independent auditing has failed investors,” says Howchin. A new institute to be launched early next year will take up the challenge. And there are already plans to advance on other specific sustainability issues following the same engagement model. The voice of the sister of one of the victims of the Brumadinho mining disaster is a dramatic reminder of why they are doing what they are doing.

    The winners

    Grabbing the award in not only one but all of two categories (ESG incorporation and Emerging markets initiative of the year) is China Southern Asset Management for their application of a carbon emissions database. One of the strengths of their solution is that it enables the portfolio managers to comprehensively analyse the transition risks related to climate change, despite insufficient carbon disclosure in the A-share market. To improve the reliability and accuracy of the database, they classify data into different categories, including verified data (e.g., CDP), disclosed data, feedback from engagement, and estimated value.

    The ESG research innovation of the year for 2022 goes to British International Investment (BII) for their WWF Water Risk Filter. BII’s partnership has enabled WWF to develop a tool that is tangible and accessible, providing companies and investors with the means to comprehensively incorporate water risks into TCFD-aligned climate scenario analyses, resulting in forward-looking integration into climate resilience planning.

    This year’s Stewardship initiative award goes to Rathbones Group for their Votes Against Slavery initiative. Having achieved a hit rate of 90% in 2020 and 100% in 2021, Rathbones launched the third version of VAS in 2022. This consistent track record of effective stewardship has enabled them to marshal their largest coalition to date, involving asset owners and asset managers.

    Bridge Investment Group wins the 2022 award for Real-world impact of the year for their workforce and affordable housing strategy. It is a private, scalable market solution for preserving and rehabilitating housing and dedicated social programming for America’s workforce.

    The Nordic nominees

    Despite the tough competition, two Nordic signatories have made it to the nominees’ shortlist this year. SEB Investment Management Sustainability Score was one of five initiatives nominated in the category for best sustainability integration. Meanwhile, Trill Impact (Nordea Asset Management’s impact investment partner) was nominated in the category Real-world impact of the year. In the coming weeks, NordSIP will be featuring these worthy contestants’ sustainability efforts.

    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia has accumulated experience in asset management for more than 20 years in Stockholm and Beijing, in portfolio management, asset allocation, fund selection and risk management. In December 2020, she completed a program in Sustainability Studies at the University of Linköping. Julia speaks Mandarin, Bulgarian, Hindi, Russian, Swedish, Urdu and English. She holds a Master in Indology from Sofia University and has completed studies in Economics at both Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics.

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