GLOBAL - The United Nations has said that it will work with major institutional investors to develop a set of globally recognized principles for responsible investment by September 2005.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said that the new principles would protect both the planet and long-term shareholder value by integrating environmental, social and governance concerns into investor and capital market considerations.
UNEP’s launch of the “Responsible Investment Initiative” follows a meeting of more than 40 investors and fund managers held last month in Paris where the plan for a global alliance of investors to guide responsible investment best practice was proposed.
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s executive director said: “The time is now right to develop principles to guide best practice in responsible investment decisions worldwide.
“The world’s largest banks have the Equator Principles to guide their actions in a manner supportive of sustainable development. We believe the investor community is now ready for similar principles to assist with the complex process of responsible investment that meets investor expectations.”
He added: “The short-termism inherent in our markets is a critical challenge when it comes to addressing environmental and broader sustainability issues.”
Graeme Davies, chairman of the Universities Superannuation Scheme said: “Pension funds have liabilities which last several decades so it's inevitable that the serious social and environmental issues which the UN system seeks to address will increasingly become material investment issues as well. “
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