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UN Delegates Briefed on Responsible Investment and Corporate Citizenship in Wake of Financial Crisis

(New York, 3 June 2009) - The United Nations Global Compact and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) held a joint briefing session for UN delegates to discuss the roles of responsible investment and corporate citizenship in the wake of the financial crisis. Both initiatives have called for business and investors to ensure that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are incorporated into management of risks and opportunities.

Donald MacDonald, Chair of the Principles for Responsible Investment Board and Trustee of BT Pension Scheme, provided an overview of PRI. A partnership between investors, UNEP Finance Initiative and the Global Compact, PRI is the foremost global initiative on responsible institutional investment with 500-plus signatories representing USD 16 trillion in assets under management, a significant portion of the global total.

PRI has developed an eight-point plan around more active, collaborative ownership in response to the financial crisis. “To protect our investments over the long-term, institutional investors need to greatly improve due diligence within the investment chain, and to practice and incentivize much smarter risk management,” according to Mr. MacDonald. “We must factor into our decisions the full spectrum of environmental, social and corporate governance issues that have an impact on asset values,” he continued.

Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact, provided an update on the UN corporate responsibility initiative – the world’s largest with 6,500 signatories in 135 countries – and stressed the need for business everywhere to implement universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

“The fallout of the financial crisis has put a spotlight on issues that the Global Compact has long advocated as essential responsibilities for the modern corporation. Since launching in 2000, we have worked to embed principles, values and responsibility into the global marketplace, recognizing that otherwise it will fail to benefit a majority of society and, ultimately, be unsustainable,” Mr. Kell said.


Contact

Elliot Frankal
Principles for Responsible Investment
elliot.frankal@unpri.org
+ 44 (0)7989 524780
www.unpri.org

Carrie Hall
UN Global Compact
hallc@un.org
+ 1 917 367 5232