Five signatories of the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment have been expelled from the group in one of the strongest signals yet that the principles are not just for show.
Separately, three other institutions — including the $106 billion New York State Teachers' Retirement System, Albany — voluntarily left the PRI.
“NYSTRS voluntarily withdrew active participation in PRI, but we continue to support strong corporate governance principles,” fund spokesman John Cardillo said in an e-mail response to questions.
Mennonite Mutual Aid, a faith-based financial services adviser based in Goshen, Ind., and Rapaki Property Group, a real estate investment company based in Auckland, New Zealand, also quit the initiative on their own accord.
The five signatories who were asked to leave the PRI are: DESBAN – DBMG Foundation for Social Security, a pension fund based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Christopher Reynolds Foundation, a New York-based group that makes grants for humanitarian causes; Foresters Community Finance, a community economic development organization in Brisbane, Australia; Oasis Group Holdings, a Shariah-compliant money manager based in Cape Town, South Africa; and Trinity Holdings, a natural resources money manager also based in Cape Town, according to a PRI announcement on Aug. 20. The five failed to fill out a comprehensive annual survey required for membership, said James Gifford, executive director of the PRI.
“We wanted the PRI to be principles-based and not prescriptive and as such, there are no absolute standards of performance,” said Mr. Gifford. “However, it is important that there is an accountability mechanism in place to ensure the initiative remains credible and legitimate, and that signatories are accountable for their progress.”
Besides NYSTRS, officials from the organizations that either were delisted or volunteered to leave the initiative could not be reached for comment by press time.