BSI, the UK national standards body, has published the second output of a sustainable finance standardisation programme sponsored by the government and financial services industry.

Officially known as PAS 7341:2020, the output is a so-called specification for investment management that distinguishes between, and sets requirements for responsible investment management and sustainable investment management. It builds on the sustainable finance framework and terminology set out in what was the BSI programme’s first output

This latest PAS identifies sustainable investment management as taking responsible investment management “a step further by pursuing specific sustainability goals or outcomes”.

BSI said the specification “underlines the importance of effective disclosure to appropriate stakeholders, and builds on existing industry guidance, principles and regulatory developments”. 

Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI, said PAS 7341 “creates a way for financial management organisations to transition from ‘responsible’ to ‘sustainable’ investment management.

“This is the first consensus for delivering responsible investment management at corporate level,” he said, adding that it was a “globally relevant, pioneering and practical standard”.

Its launch coincides with the UK preparing to assume the G7 presidency and host next year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26),

Kwasi Kwarteng, UK minister of state for business, energy and clean growth, said: “Transforming our financial system for a greener future is crucial as we build back better from Covid-19 and to meet our legally binding target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Building on our pioneering green finance strategy, this new standard will help the UK investment sector become even more sustainable as we strive to lead the world in tackling climate change.”

The specification is intended for use by, among other entities, investment management firms, investment consultants, and asset owners, with BSI specifically name-checking Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) members as a category of potential users.

It was produced by a steering group of individuals from academia, government, NGOs, and organisations in and around the UK investment industry, including Aviva Investors, Brunel Pension Partnership, the International Business of Federated Hermes, the PRI, and Vigeo Eiris.

According to the specification document, its users are “advised to consider the consider the desirability of quality system assessment and registration against the appropriate standard in the BS EN ISO 9000 series by an accredited third-party certification body”.

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