Simon Howard, chief executive of the UK Sustainable and Investment Finance Association (UKSIF), shares his predictions and hopes for what the year ahead holds for sustainable investment.
In Q1 there is an important consultation on changes to pension scheme regulation in the light of the Law Commission report on Fiduciary Duty. We hope that process makes it clear that pension scheme trustees should consider all financially material issues including environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, and that it will also make it clear that schemes should have an explicit policy on stewardship. In that last area we are delighted to be working with the Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT) on drafting some voting instructions for fund managers covering ‘E’ and ‘S’ issues as well as ‘G’. We and the AMNT hope that they will be adopted by schemes that have found it hard to act on such issues due to work load or complexity.
Throughout the year we will be working with other sector organisations to maximise UK political engagement with the inter-governmental agenda that comes to a head with the social development goals (SDGs) and COP 21. We want to show that UK finance is conscious of both its obligations, and the opportunities, in funding the transition to a low carbon economy so urgently needed.
In the autumn we will again be running Good Money Week. Last year we made great progress with students and banks and we will be seeking to build on that. Can we tie that in to the inter-governmental agenda and the coverage which we hope that will be generating? We will certainly try.
So that’s the UKSIF hopes and prediction: important regulatory progress in pension funds and meaningful engagement between the finance industry, COP 21 and the SDGs.
Photo: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr