The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) was officially launched in April 2006 on the initiative of the former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He invited some of the largest institutional investors and asset managers in the world to work together with the UN to develop principles for responsible investment. The point of departure was that information on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues are affecting investors' returns.

Since then, the number of signatories has grown from 100 to more that 1850 – across asset owners, investment managers, and service providers representing approximately US$70 trillion.

The 6 Principles

The six Principles for Responsible Investment are a voluntary and aspirational set of investment principles that offer a menu of possible actions for incorporating ESG issues into investment practice.

Principle 1
We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.

Principle 2
We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.

Principle 3
We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.

Principle 4
We will promote acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry.

Principle 5
We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles.

Principle 6
We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles.

What is PRI?

The PRI is the world's leading proponent of responsible investment.

It works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The PRI acts in the long-term interests of its signatories, of the financial markets and economies in which they operate and ultimately of the environment and society as a whole.

The PRI is truly independent. It encourages investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage risks, but does not operate for its own profit; it engages with global policymakers but is not associated with any government; it is supported by, but not part of, the United Nations.

Sasja and Mathias Sasja Beslik, Head of Group Sustainable Finance at Nordea and Mathias Leijon , Head of Corporate and Investment Banking hosting Nordea's first Nordic Sustainable Finance Conference 2017.

Sustainability journey at Nordea

Nordea’s sustainability journey took off for real back in 2007, when Nordea signed the UN PRI as the first Nordic Bank, and making this commitment as investment managers really became a milestone.

The concept “Responsible Investments” was coined and a Responsible Investment team was established to work integrated with ESG analysis for Nordea’s funds and Asset Management. As part of the commitments and frameworks, PRI was an important part and it still is. As part of the journey Nordea’s team for Responsible Investments started to do field trips to monitor ESG risks onsite.

The Responsible Investment team is still today working actively with the important work on Responsible Investments.

- Things have definitely changed over the years - and they continue to develop for the better as we see an increasing interest in sustainability and sustainable products, Sasja Beslik says, Head of Sustainable Finance at Nordea, who was Head of the Responsible Investment team back in 2009.

In 2016 Group Sustainable Finance was established at Nordea to work with sustainability for the whole product offering and for all business related activities within the areas of investments, financing and advice.

- Sustainability and Sustainable Finance is anchored on the highest level in Nordea and one of the biggest differences today, looking back over the ten years, is that we have widened the scope for sustainable finance to include all investments, financing and advice. This is really increasing the opportunity to make a difference. – Sasja continues.

Nordea updated the Sustainability Policy for the Nordea Group this year and it now contains sustainable financing which is one of the core areas of Sustainable Finance and Nordea’s offering. 

Access the Nordea Sustainability policy here