Learning and Collaboration: Highlights from our Community of Practice pilot project | blog post

The new reporting framework and 2021 results provide signatories with an important opportunity to compare themselves to their peers, learn and improve their practices.

In a spirit of collaboration (principle 5), it is also an opportunity to come together as a community of responsible investment professionals and discuss common issues, questions and solutions.

Earlier this year, we launched a pilot project called Community of Practice in Canada and Latin America (excluding Brazil), aimed at bringing together signatories to discuss their responsible investment activities, within the context of the PRI reporting.

Below, we highlight some of the key talking points from sessions we held in Canada, where nearly two-thirds of the market pledged to invest responsibly, according to a recent report.

Canadian signatories focus on implementation and engagement

In Canada, we organized 16 webinarseach presenting data insights from different modules of the 2021 Reporting Framework, followed by a panel discussion between signatories and local members of the Signatory Relations and Content team.

Participants discussed their responsible investment practices in different asset classes, the challenges they face in terms of climate change, the implementation of the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, and the selection, appointment and monitoring of asset managers. What we heard during the sessions largely aligned with the findings of our recent report, Inside PRI data: asset owner action.

The following three areas also figured prominently in the conversations:

1) Engagement with policy makers for a more sustainable financial system: Asset owners and investment managers are increasingly engaging with policy makers in one way or another. But challenges remain, from relationship building to team capacity issues. There is also the issue of attribution: participants said they struggled to attribute certain policy outcomes to their own engagement activities. The group discussed whether there should be individual attribution or whether investors should instead focus only on accomplishments that arise from a collective commitment, such as our recent signing letter to the Canadian securities on corporate climate disclosures.

2) Private assets: Participants highlighted current challenges with ESG data, around data quality and availability, particularly with respect to climate and diversity. Some private equity investors have developed proprietary proxies, using publicly available Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions data, to estimate the emissions of their beneficiary companies. We recently launched a guide highlighting the resources and initiatives available to private market investors to help them integrate climate change considerations into their investment process.

3) Sustainability results: Smaller Canadian investment managers wanted to discuss how to implement the PRI’s five-part framework for investing in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and better articulate ESG integration and impact investing practices to align them on sustainability results. Participants agreed that they needed clearer definitions on this topic – we will build on the feedback received to provide additional guidance to support signatories’ reporting on sustainable development results in 2023.

How did the Canadian signatories evaluate the pilot project?

Three-quarters of participating Canadian signatories reported having between one and five new connectionswhile 95% said they would recommend the sessions to their peers.

The graph below shows what attendees found most valuable in the sessions:

A different approach in Latin America ex-Brazil

We also held community of practice sessions for Latin American signatories (excluding Brazil).

They consisted of eight webinars where 19 signatories – who are already implementing some of the best responsible investment practices – shared their experiences with attendees. The webinars covered topics related to ESG integration in listed equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate and infrastructure, as well as in-depth discussions on climate change.

We hope that the community of practice pilot project will foster greater collaboration between signatories in the region, as this will be essential to further improve responsible investment practices.

Next steps

Reflecting our commitment to bringing together and educating responsible investors, we will host further roundtables for signatories in Canada and Latin America excluding Brazil.

We will also make the Community of Practice a more centralized PRI initiative, allowing more signatories to benefit from the in-depth, structured and practice-based exchanges that such a project can provide.

Future sessions will likely focus on recently released 2021 report and assessment results in select regions – stay tuned for more announcements.

We would like to thank the organizations that have participated so far and encourage all signatories to contact their regional relationship manager to learn more about the project or express interest in participating.

This blog is written by PRI staff members and guest contributors. Our aim is to contribute to the wider debate around topical issues and help showcase some of our research and other work we undertake to support our signatories. Please note that while you can expect to find articles here that broadly reflect the official views of the PRI, the blog authors write in their individual capacities and there is no ‘house view’. The views and opinions expressed on this blog also do not constitute financial or other professional advice. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

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