GLOBAL - Signatories to the UN's Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative have jumped by more than 30% since July 2009.
That brings the total to more than 800 institutions, with combined assets under management of more than $22trn (€16.2trn), quashing fears that interest in responsible investment strategies would diminish after the financial crisis.
The latest PRI Report on Progress 2010 found that more than 95% of asset owners and 87% of investment managers had an overall investment policy that addressed environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
Responsible investment activity by investors grew particularly in Spain, North America, Denmark and New Zealand.
Signatories originating from 45 countries conducted more than 4,000 engagements with companies to encourage improvements in corporate ESG performance.
The percentage of asset owners involved in dialogue with regulators on ESG issues rose to 85%, while approximately 90% of signatories were involved in formal or informal collaboration with other investors on ESG issues.
Australia, the US and the UK provided the largest number of responses, with South Africa and Brazil among the top 10 of those signatories that responded.
This year, 433 signatories completed the PRI assessment survey about how they were putting the six principles into practice.
Following a one-year grace period, completion of the survey is mandatory for asset owner and investment manager signatories.
Of the 356 signatories required to complete the survey this year, 97% per cent did so.
James Gifford, executive director of the PRI, said: "The real highlight is that 40% of respondents opted to publish their responses in full online.
"This represents a real and significant increase in investor transparency on responsible investment activities.
"Every large, world-class listed company is now monitoring and reporting on its ESG performance, and so too are an increasing number of investors."
The number of signatories that opted for the full online versions stood at 166, up 25% compared with 2009.
Two signatories - Axiom Properties and Carnbrea & Co, which are both Australia-based - were de-listed from the initiative due to non-participation in the survey.
A further eight signatories - Apostle Asset Management, Forma Futura Invest, Natural Investments, Nevastar Finance, Principle Capital Partners, Systematic Absolute Return AP, Stock Rate Asset Management and Sutterlüty Investment Management - left the initiative voluntarily.
Gifford said: "While there has been strong progress, there is still a long way to go, particularly in asset classes such as fixed income, the monitoring of outsourced voting activities and incentivising staff and other agents on ESG performance."
The full list of 808 PRI signatories can be found here, while the 166 full online responses are available here.