GLOBAL - Global index and financial services provider MSCI has become a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

Henry Fernandez, chairman and chief executive at MSCI, said: "Investing in companies that exhibit principles of strong corporate governance and are committed to sustainable environmental and social practices is becoming increasingly important for our clients.

"By becoming a UN PRI signatory, we are demonstrating our commitment to provide critical investment decision support tools to the growing number of investors throughout the world who are focusing on long-term sustainable investing."

The UN PRI is a global initiative supporting the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into institutional investing practices.

There are currently more than 800 PRI signatories from 45 countries, representing more than $22trn (€16.2trn) in assets under management.

James Gifford, executive director at the UN PRI, said: "MSCI's ESG business, formerly RiskMetrics, has been working in this space for many years and has been a strong supporter of the UN PRI.

"With the whole of MSCI signing up, there is real potential to leverage the index business along with the ESG business and promote the ESG agenda within mainstream investment."

In September, MSCI launched a family of ESG indices, designed to allow investors to benchmark their ESG investment performance, issue index-linked ESG investment products and manage, measure and report on their compliance with ESG mandates more effectively.

The indices fall in three categories: ESG best-of-class indices, such as the MSCI World ESG index; values-based indices, such as the MSCI KLD 400 Social index; and environmental indices, such as the MSCI Global Environment index.