Who are the industry bodies? What initiatives are there?

There is no specific industry body for the ethical investing space but there are many organisations and initiatives which aim to encourage sustainability.
Note: from a regulatory perspective, all UK ethical investment managers fall under the Financial Conduct Authority regulations.

Investment Association (IA)
The IA is the trade body and industry voice for UK investment managers across a multitude of topics. They facilitate industry collaboration with all key stakeholders to help promote and develop responsible investment.

They launched the Responsible Investment Framework, which categorises, and provides standard definitions for, the different components of responsible investment. Further, they undertake a number of initiatives relating to Sustainability and Responsible Investment.

There are many major initiatives that the IA has been engaging in, including:
  • The European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan 
  • British Standards Institution (BSI) work on responsible and sustainable finance standards
  • UK Stewardship Code 2020

UN Global Compact

Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is a both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices.

As a leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyse actions in support of broader UN goals. With 7,000 corporate signatories in 135 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.

For more information on the Global Compact Principles, click here.
Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
The PRI is an investor initiative in partnership with UNEP Finance Initiative and UN Global Compact. It is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. Founded in 2006  it is now applied by half the world’s institutional investors.

It encourages investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage risks, but does not operate for its own profit; it engages with global policymakers but is not associated with any government; it is supported by, but not part of, the United Nations.

The six Principles for Responsible Investment are a voluntary and aspirational set of investment principles that offer a menu of possible actions for incorporating ESG issues into investment practice.

They have attracted a global signatory base representing a majority of the world’s professionally managed investments.

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative is a global partnership established between the United Nations Environment Program and the financial sector.

The frameworks UNEP FI has established or co-created include:

These frameworks establish the norms for sustainable finance, providing the basis for standard-setting and helping to ensure private finance fulfils its potential role in contributing to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
The FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is an organisation that develops voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures.

Companies are able to use these recommendations for use in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders about their climate risks via policy and metric disclosures.

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals are described as the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.

The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals. All stakeholders: governments, civil society, the private sector, and others, are expected to contribute to the realisation of these goals.

They are to be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators known as the 'global indicator framework'. However, governments will also develop their own national indicators to assist in monitoring progress made on the goals and targets.

Impact Investing

The Impact Investing Institute is an independent, non-profit organisation which aims to accelerate the growth and improve the effectiveness of the impact investing market. It will do this by raising awareness of, addressing barriers to and increasing confidence in investing with impact with its goal being to help achieve the UN SDGs

They work in partnership with the Green Finance Institute, GSG, Impact Management Project and Pensions for Purpose.

B Lab
B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Lab’s initiatives include B Corp Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs and software, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation.

B Lab offer an Impact Assessment tool that a company can use to measure its impact on its workers, community, environment and customers.

If a company qualifies, a Certified B Corporations is a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

Their aim is to accelerate a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Green Finance Institute

The Green Finance Institute was established in 2019 as a direct response to a key policy recommendation made by the industry-led Green Finance Taskforce to the UK Government.

Their aim is to accelerate the transition to a clean, resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by channelling capital at pace and scale towards real-economy outcomes that will create jobs and increase prosperity for all. 

They believe that to achieve the transition to an inclusive, net-zero carbon and climate-resilient economy, both public and private finance is needed. Therefore, they are an independent organisation backed by government and led by bankers.

UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (SIF)
UK SIF inform, influence and connect UK finance, policymakers and the public to create a fair, inclusive and sustainable financial system that works for the benefit of society and the environment.

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (Integrity Council) is an independent governance body for the voluntary carbon market.

They have designed the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) and Assessment Framework (AF) which sets threshold standards for high-quality carbon credits, provide guidance on how to apply the CCPs, and defines which credits are CCP-eligible.