Objectives & Background

Background

The RI Reporting Awards are organised by Responsible Investor in association with our research partner the Responsible Responsible Finance Research charity (RFR).

ReFineResearch is an organization with charitable ambitions which supports and leverages academic and industry research in the area of responsible investment. ReFineResearch aims to achieve deeper knowledge of responsible investing through innovative thinking, greater transparency and advanced research methods. See below for details of who stands behind the ReFineResearch team.

The assessment framework and methodology resulted from the ReFineResearch team’s PhD-research work, and has been continuously improved and further developed since then. Our ambition is to consider trends early in the process that influence the sustainable investment market persistently.

Objectives

The RI Reporting Awards for Asset Owners and Asset Managers aim to…
Showcase excellence in responsible investment and ESG reporting
Recognise the highest standards in the disclosure of responsible investment activities by investors globally
Create an aspirational benchmark for asset owners and asset managers to follow
Be at the forefront of disclosure of newly developed trends in the sustainable investment market

Methodology

The Asset Owner and Asset Manager research process for the reporting awards includes three main parts:
surveying the Asset Owner and Asset Manager universe to source reports;
to assess and score the identified reports;
shortlisting and judging panel.

Throughout the whole assessment process, we apply at least a four-eyes-principle from the research side. The third step strongly involves Responsible Investor in order to ensure solid shortlists.

Surveying universe

We first define our sample. In order to select sample consistently over time, we use the following lists for Asset Owners and Managers as our universe.

Category Universe
Asset Owner
  1. IPE Top1000
  2. UNPRI signatory list (Asset Owners)
Asset Manager
  1. IPE Top 400
  2. UNPRI signatory list (Investment Managers)

Next, we go through every entity on the list to check whether they report any non-financial information, in particular with regard to responsible investment and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects. The report can be either an integrated annual report or a standalone report, and for practicality the report needs to be in English. We only include a report that is 1) produced in a download-able format, such as a pdf, and 2) published within a certain timeframe (calendar year) and clearly dated, again for consistency reason. Content published on the website lacks comparability across entities for various reasons; for instance, we do not know when the content is produced, and during which period of time the content applies.

Assessment of the report

The Assessment framework is the basis of the RI Reporting Awards. Besides the consideration of specific 29 indicators, the assessment process includes scoring and weighting.
The Assessment framework consists of 29 indicators, and is divided into two assessment parts:
The first part focuses on the fund`s internal management, and consists of 16 indicators.
The second part focuses on the fund’s sustainable investment activities, and consists of 13 indicators.
Each report is scored accordingly to these 29 indicators.
Some indicators are assessed by existence / non-existence. This implies for example the report receives one point if it is assured externally, and it receives no point if there is no proof of external assurance.

Other indicators are assessed according to the reporting quality on a scale of 0-2. This implies for example that a report receives no point if it does not mention any proxy voting activities by the fund. The report receives one point if it mentions any activities, and it receives the full score of two if it provides further evidence, statistics, or examples of specific proxy voting cases.

Depending on the relevance of the indicator for the overall disclosure performance, the indicator is weighted accordingly. Some indicators are simply weighted and others are double-weighted.

See below for a concise overview of the assessment framework or email us to request a copy of the full methodology riawards(at)responsible-investor.com

Shortlisting and judging panel

After finishing the scoring and weighting, the top 8-10 reports with the highest weighted scores in each group are shortlisted. The awards contain four groups:
1) Large Asset Owners
2) Medium/Small Asset Owners
3) Large Asset Managers
4) Medium/Small Asset Managers.

These four shortlists are handed over to the pre-defined judging panels that will assess the identified reports, and determine the winners in each group. The judging panel consists of industry leaders, the sponsors of the awards, and the winners in each group from the previous year. The reports from the latter are not included in the assessment for one year.

The ReFineResearch team

Prof. Dr. Andreas G. F. Hoepner
President; ReFine Research, UK
Professor of Operational Risk, Banking & Finance; Smurfit Graduate Business School, University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Head of‚ Practical Tools‘ research group; Mistra Financial Systems (MFS) research consortium, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

Dr. Agnes L. Neher
Head of Research & Vice President; ReFine Research, UK
Sustainability Manager; Bank J. Safra Sarasin, Switzerland
Guest lecturer at Hochschule Karlsruhe, Germany

Dr. Pei-Shan Yu
General Secretary & Researcher; ReFine Research, UK
Post-Doc; ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, Unversity of Reading
Member of‚ Practical Tools‘ research group; Mistra Financial Systems (MFS) research consortium, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

Assessment framework

Indicator

Subjective

Objective

Fund’s sustainability management and practices

Comparability/Clarity

×

Reliability

×

Data-based information

×

Mission statement/Policy

×

RI/ESG risk management strategy

×

External assurance

×

Foreword by highest authority

×

Statutory RI/ESG requirement

×

External mandate design

×

Remuneration related to non-financial KPIs

×

Environmental performance

×

Social performance

×

Governance performance

×

Materiality

×

Inclusivity

×

Risk register

×

Fund’s sustainable investment activity

ESG-integration in investment approach

×

ESG-integration in financial analysis

×

Engagement on sustainability issues

×

Proxy voting on sustainability issues

×

Impact investment

×

Environmental performance of the fund’s investment

×

Social performance of the fund’s investment

×

Governance performance of the fund’s investment

×

Asset allocation

×

Carbon footprint

×

Strategic target for non-financial risk and/or performance management

×

Signatory of international/domestic sustainable investment initiatives

×

UN PRI reporting framework

×

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