Ireland’s asset owners and managers need to have a sharp focus on Responsible Investing in order to better assess the value and performance of an investment over the medium to long-term, according to commentary at the launch of ‘Ireland’s Fiduciary Duty Roadmap’ report. The roadmap is supported by SIF Ireland, the national Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum, and Irish Life, and provides policy, regulatory and market practice recommended actions to embed Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) practices across the Irish investment market.
Patrick Burke, Managing Director of Irish Life Investment Managers, said; “This roadmap report comes at a time when the world is rapidly changing, with factors such as climate change, population growth and resource scarcity at play, and as a result, investment returns will change in line with these issues. Therefore, considering relevant ESG factors into investment decisions is essential to delivering returns over the medium to long-term for our clients. We are proud to support this important piece of work for our industry and look forward to further embedding Responsible Investing principles into our business”.
‘Ireland’s Fiduciary Duty Roadmap’ provides clear recommendations on policy and market changes required to achieve full ESG integration into core areas of investment practices such as; corporate reporting, shareholder engagement, investor education and regulatory changes. The roadmap recommendations include actions for various Irish stakeholders such as; the Central Bank, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Finance, and the Pensions Authority, and how they can begin to incorporate ESG practices into investment planning and decision making.
This roadmap is significant due to the upcoming EU Directive IORPs II, which requires pension funds to publish their position on ESG issues in their statements of investment policy principles (SIPPs). Last month, the European Commission also published its first legislative package under its Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth, outlining how institutional investors, asset managers and advisors should integrate ESG factors into the investment decision-making process, as part of the duty to act in the best interests of clients.
Ireland is the 10th country in the world to produce a roadmap, which is a significant milestone for a country of its size. Other countries which have produced a roadmap are; the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, South Africa and China.
Terence O’Rourke, Chair of SIF Ireland, said; “We are delighted with the launch of today’s roadmap. Providing clear recommendations on how best to advance the ESG agenda across all asset classes in Ireland, over the coming months SIF Ireland is looking forward to engaging with government, the regulator and other market players on this important topic, including how best to realise the report recommendations.”
SIF Ireland partnered with the Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI), the UNEP Finance Initiative and The Generation Foundation to publish this roadmap, following extensive consultation with regulators, investors, policymakers and attorneys across Ireland.
Anastasia Guha, Head of UK and Ireland at the Principles of Responsible Investment said; “Investors have a major role to play in allocating capital flows to sustainable investment strategies. “By incorporating the recommendations in the report, the private and public sectors in Ireland will be well placed to better manage investment risks and take advantage of the new opportunities that looking at ESG affords.”
To view a full copy of the ‘Ireland’s Fiduciary Duty Roadmap’ and its recommendations, you can download it here.