So the questions I’m often asked are “So are things advancing in the field of responsible / sustainable investing?”, “Is it really going to continue to grow?” or “Have we reached the tipping point?”
My answer to these questions are a resounding “YES”. Yes things are advancing, yes this area of investing continues to grow and yes, I believe we are at a tipping point.
Proof of that came earlier this week when another Canadian pension fund join the ranks of signatories with the UNPRI (United Nations Principles of Responsible Investing). Yes, earlier this week the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund (OTPP) announced that it has become a signatory. Teachers is Canada’s largest single-professional pension fund with approximately $107B in assets. That means that Canada how has 38 signatories, of which 15 are asset owners and include the Caisse de depot et placement du quebec, British Columbia Investment Municipal Pension Plan, Canada Pension Plan, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), OPSEU Pension Trust. Tipping point?
In the UNPRI’s yearly review, they have highlighted that they have added some 200+ new signatories in the last 12 months, with now more than 900 signatories from 49 different countries. Total assets represented by the UNPRI now equal over US$30T or about 20% of the world’s capital. All this growth in a year where the UNPRI took the step to put into place mandatory fees (based on AUM’s) to support the organization. Not only did the signatories accept this fee, we’ve seen significant growth. A tipping point? Well according to Malcolm Gladwell, 20% is the magic number!
So before closing, I couldn’t help but check to see where the growth is coming from. To some, the surprise might be that the country with the largest number of UNPRI signatories is now the USA at 130 (16 new additions). Yes, the USA has now surpassed the UK as per the total number of signatories. For those of us in North America, this is further evidence that the trend is making it’s way across the pond!!!
Further information can be found in the PRI’s Annual Review at http://www.unpri.org/