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PRI head to step down

James Gifford, who has guided the international initiative supporting ESG practices since its inception in 2003, will step down as executive director.

James Gifford, the founding executive director of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative, has announced his resignation as head of the international network, according to a PRI statement. 

“It has been an amazing experience to see the initiative go from an idea to a global organisation with more than 1,200 signatories, trillions of dollars signed up and meaningful implementation of the principles within the industry,” Giffford said in the statement..

Gifford will stay in the role until November and discussions about a successor will take place next month.

During his time with PRI, Gifford helped to build the initiative from $4 trillion in assets under management by PRI signatories in 2006 to $34 trillion or 15 percent of the world’s investable assets, today, according to PRI. 

The PRI provides a voluntary framework for investors to incorporate ESG issues into their decision-making and ownership practices. Worldwide, PRI has 791 investment managers signed up to the initiative. Of that total, 150 signatories are private equity-focused firms.

China has two PRI signatories and India one, compared to 79 in Australia. 

PRI database

Asia, excluding the developed markets of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, has been slow to respond. Nine Asia countries have a total of 24 investment manager signatories, according to PRI figures.

Of that total, China has two signatories and India has one. Australia, by comparison, has 79 investment managers signed up.