UK - RailPen Investments, the investment management arm of the £20bn (€25bn) UK Railway pension fund, has yet to join the UN Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI) because of uncertainty about its ability to meet the standards.
Deborah Gilshan, corporate governance counsel of RailPen Investments, today said despite actively considering joining the PRI, the organisation is unsure it can incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into its entire investment analysis and decision-making process - one of the key requirements of the principles.
Gilshan explained while being in favour of a framework, the fact that investors sign up to such a framework does not necessarily mean they have the required ESG measures in place.
In a panel discussion about responsible investing at the Asset Allocation Summit in London today, she added RailPen Investments uses a large number of external managers, adding it is up to the investors to put pressure on managers to incorporate ESG issues.
Asked if the PRI have achieved their objective, Gilshan argued some key requirements were hard to meet, though added in raising knowledge about ESG factors, the PRI will achieve its objectives.
She pleaded for a holistic approach to responsible investing, arguing investors should "make it less separate".
Penny Shepherd, chief executive of the UK Social Investment Forum, and Howard Pearce, head of environmental finance and pension fund management at the Environment Agency - also participating in the discussion - both think the PRI will achieve their objectives, since these are widely cast.
Both organisations are already signatories to the PRI code.
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