PRI announces award winners

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Green grass us dollar symbol against blue sky © Sergey Nivens / 123RF Stock PhotoesThe Principles for Responsible Investment has announced the winners of its inaugural awards.

In the category of Active Ownership Project of the Year, Platform Living Wage Financials, a group of 11 financial institutions representing over 2.3 trillion euros in assets under management took the top spot, a case study posted on the PRI’s website said. The group uses its financial leverage to engage investee companies on the issue of paying workers a living wage throughout their global supply chains, with a focus on the garments, retail and food and agriculture sectors.

Australia’s First State Super took home the award for ESG Incorporation Initiative of the Year for its Systematic Investing Multi-Factor Opportunities strategy. The initiative is a quantitative-based strategy which uses factor categories like profitability, errors and biases, value and anchoring or momentum and resilience. As part of the strategy, the Super created a proprietary long-term value creation score, in collaboration with its ESG team. The scoring system amplifies the focus on strong governance and leadership within companies, as opposed to focusing on near-term earnings, which can tend to take precedent. This skewed focus can encourage management to “. . . front-load earnings or cut strategic research and development, at the expense of longer-term profits,” the case study on First State Super noted.

U.S.-based Rockefeller Asset Management won in the category of ESG Research Report of the Year. Working with the UN Environment Finance Initiative’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, Rockefeller took part in a pilot project to run its investment assumptions through “. . . climate models that consider the different regulatory and physical risks associated with different emissions pathways,” a case study on the winner said. Rockefeller assisted in the development of the model and then applied it to 90 per cent of its assets under management.

French firm, Amundi Asset Management took home the award for Real World Impact Initiative of the Year. In March 2018, together with the International Finance Corporation, Amundi launched the world’s biggest targeted green bond fund focused on emerging markets.The fund’s aim is to increase the capacity of banks in emerging markets to fund climate-smart investments, the case study on Amundi said.

China’s Starquest Capital took the top spot for Emerging Markets Initiative of the Year. The firm was the first renminbi-denominated fund of funds to sign on to the PRI. The firm uses a five-step process to evaluate the ESG practices of a general partner it’s considering taking on, the case study on Starquest noted.

There were nine judges on an independent panel that selected the winners of this year’s awards.

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