EUROPE – Some of Europe’s largest pension funds have signed up to the United Nations’ new set of six responsible investment principles.

Signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment, launched today at the New York Stock Exchange, include national pension funds in Norway, Ireland, France, Sweden as well as names such as ABP and PGGM.

"We manage assets for future generations and acknowledge the link between long-term return and the governance of companies, markets and economies," said Knut Kjaer, executive director of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund.

"We engaged in developing these principles to help broaden the understanding of what drives long-term fund performance. Investors must collaborate to support well-regulated markets and sustainable development.”

Else Bos, director of Investments at PGGM said: “We’re pleased to have this opportunity to work with other signatories on making further progress in this area. PGGM has been a pioneer in this field for many years and PRI represents a major step towards global recognition of the importance of responsible investment.”

“ABP already complies with most of the requirements of PRI, but a code like this helps to motivate your organisation and keeps people focused,” added ABP CIO Roderick Munsters.

PME investment chief Roland van den Brink added: “PME aims for sustainable growth and sees the application of PRI as a logical next step towards sustainable development and responsible investment. In my view, responsible investment is essential if we are to maintain – and improve – our good investment performance.”

The UN said the principles were developed during a nearly year-long process convened by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

It added that more than 20 pension funds, foundations and special government funds, backed by a group of 70 experts from around the world, held meetings in Paris, New York, Toronto, London, and Boston over an eight-month period to craft the Principles.

The BT Pension Scheme and its asset management arm Hermes endorsed the principles. “We welcome the principles which are very much in line with Hermes’ thinking and approach,” said Hermes’ chief executive mark Anson.

The principles:

1. We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
2. We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
3. We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
4. We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
5. We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
6. We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.

List of signatories:
Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds Metalektro (PME)
BT Pension Scheme
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Caisse des dépôts et consignations (CDC)
Canada Pension Plan
Catholic Superannuation Fund
Christian Super
CIA (Caisse de Prévoyance du Canton de Genève)
Comité syndical national de retraite Bâtirente
Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds (CRPTF)
Fonds de réserve pour les retraites (FRR)
General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church
Government Employees Pension Fund
Government Pension Fund (Thailand)
Kikkoman Corporation Pension Scheme
Mennonite Mutual Aid (MMA)
Munich Reinsurance Company
Nathan Cummings Foundation
National Pensions Reserve Fund of Ireland
New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS)
Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York
New York State and Local Retirement System
New Zealand Superannuation Fund
Norwegian Government Pension Fund
PREVI (Brazil)
United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF)
Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)