INSIGHT by Dustin Neuneyer, Head of Germany & Austria, PRI Principles of Responsible Investment

Sustainable development, sustainable finance and responsible investment are at the heart also a social issue.

| It is about the natural and self-imposed limits and how society is organised within these and what goals it is striving for. Economy and finance are not an end in themselves. It is about a future-proof model of prosperity that enables and secures social peace and human rights, environmental protection and the highest standards of corporate governance. The new PRI-report “Why And How Investors Should Act on Human Rights” sets out clear expectations for investors, and outlines a three-step process:

 

1. Political commitment: The report recommends investors establish a policy commitment to respect human rights. This commitment should be approved at the most senior level and given the resources to implement it. It is important to integrate it into governance frameworks, management systems, investment beliefs, policies and strategy to inform investment decisions, stewardship of investees and policy dialogues.

2. Due diligence processes: We recommend defining how to ensure compliance with human rights when making investment decisions and what happens in the event of non-compliance. This includes: the portfolio construction, the asset allocation, security selection and selecting, appointing and monitoring external managers/funds and other service providers.

3. Access to remedy: The report asserts that investors are responsible for providing access to remedy for people affected by their investment decisions when the investor is either contributing to or causing the negative outcomes. For outcomes investors are directly linked through an investee, investors should use influence to ensure that investees provide access to remedy for people affected.

 

Our aim is, that all signatories are incorporating human rights in their investment process in five years´ time. We will introduce human rights questions into the reporting framework. These can be answered on a voluntary basis by 2022, eventually becoming mandatory in the following years. This corresponds to the expectations of our signatories, who want the PRI to focus more on social issues, including human rights. They also recognize that meeting international standards leads to better financial risk management and helps to align their activities with the evolving demands of clients and regulators.

 

| brief bio

Dustin Neuneyer has 18 years of experience in sustainable finance, responsible investment and ESG integration. Between 2007 and 2011 he developed and implemented first of its kind ESG approaches on business activities related to coal-fired power generation and on offshore oil drilling and production including the Arctic as well as on stakeholder dialogues. Dustin joined PRI in 2014. He is responsible for engaging with and supporting PRI signatories in their responsible investment practice and implementation, and fostering the development of the PRI network. Before PRI, Dustin was Director at corporate and investment bank WestLB and Senior Advisor to think tank and lobby NGO Germanwatch. He holds a Masters of Art degree in Political Science, German Philology and Art History from the University of Cologne in Germany.