Responsible investment organization the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) announced a new milestone today, with the addition of its 4,000th signatory.

The Principles for Responsible Investment were established by a group of investor signatories in 2006, supported by the United Nations, to aid investors in integrating ESG factors into the investment process. To achieve this goal, the PRI group established a set* of specific, voluntary and aspirational principles for investors to follow, including the incorporation of ESG issues into the investment process, and into signatories’ own ownership policies and practices.

The growth in PRI signatories comes as interest in ESG investing and capital flows into sustainable investment strategies continues to accelerate. According to the PRI, the organization took six years to reach 1,000 signatories, and less than one year to add the most recent 1,000. Signatories to the PRI today represent more than $110 trillion assets under management (AUM).

According to a blog post by PRI Chief Signatory Relations Officer Lorenzo Saa, the 4,000th signatory to the PRI was China-based life insurance firm Taikang Insurance Group, and its asset management business Taikang Asset Management. According to PRI, insurance asset owner signatories are growing at a 30% rate, and emerging markets, including China, account for three of the organizations’ four fastest growing regions.

Saa said:

“The recent growth in PRI signatories has been diverse in terms of market segment, as well as geography. The fastest growing asset owner types were insurance, endowments/foundations and corporate pensions. 

“The insurance industry is leading the charge on sustainability across public and, increasingly, private markets. It is in a unique position to help finance the transition to carbon-neutral, resource-efficient and more sustainable economies.”

The PRI’s achievement comes as the organization is readying for a change in leadership. Last week, PRI CEO Fiona Reynolds announced her decision to step down from her role after 7 years with the organization. Reynolds has been with the PRI since 2013, and has overseen the organization’s growth from around 1,000 signatories to today’s 4,000 level.

The PRI also recently launched a new 3-year strategy, forming the next step in the organization’s mission to foster an economically efficient, sustainable global financial system, and prioritising work in the key areas of climate change mitigation and human rights. The theme of the PRI’s new strategic plan is ‘building a bridge between financial risk, opportunities and real-world outcomes,’ and the strategy os built along the key drivers of ‘big tent,’ making the PRI open to signatories of all types, irrespective of size, scale or geography, as well as accountability and scalability.

* The PRI principles:

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.

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