On September 8, the PRI published the public transparency reports and private assessment reports of our signatories from the 2021 reporting cycle on the PRI data portal. The 2021 reporting dataset was finalized in April 2022, and these reports are based on this finalized dataset.
The results of the 2021 PRI reports offer several important insights that shed light on how our signatories are currently approaching the reporting process. Notably, the signatory base grew by 30%, with 2,800 signatories participating in the 2021 reporting cycle, responding to over 400 indicators across 35 strategies that reflect ESG integration across various asset classes and management styles.
These results have helped us better understand our diverse base of signatories. This information is extremely important, as it will further optimize both the upcoming reporting process for 2023 and the results of the PRI at all levels. That said, it should be noted that due to the adjusted methodology used for this reporting process, the 2021 results are not comparable to prior years.
We recognize that our base of signatories is increasingly specialized. Based on their investment practices, 49% of respondents reported three or fewer strategies, compared to less than 4% who reported more than 13 of our 35 strategies. The base of PRI signatories therefore reflects the composition of an increasingly specialized and targeted investor landscape. We believe these numbers support our decision to provide signatories with greater granularity in the reporting process, allowing them to present detailed findings on the metrics most relevant to their day-to-day operations. 96% of reporting indicators this year are new or changed, and the distribution of responses across these indicators suggests that this decision to offer signatories the ability to report with a level of specificity previously unavailable was appropriate.
The 2021 assessments show that there remains a gap between signatories who score high and those who score lower. As a reminder, the results in this regard are not directly comparable – in previous years, PRI used a range approach (A+ to E) to score the reports. In 2021 (and going forward), we will be using a 1-5 star scale. Given these discrepancies in methodology, any comparison of trends should be treated with care, but in general we can see that the majority of signatories who have scored towards the high end of the spectrum in previous years (AA+) have largely maintained this high score – although some variation means that some signatories also received lower scores. For example, comparing the scores of around 2,000 common signers in 2020 and 2021, we can see that 63% of signers who got an A/A+ before got a four or five star rating, while 83% of signers who scored a B or less in previous years are rated with 3 stars or less in 2021.
The normal distribution of dozens of new reporters gives us confidence in our evaluation methodology and the framing of our content. That said, there is still work to be done to bridge the gap between industry leaders and signatories still at an early stage of their responsible investment journey. PRI’s approach here is to actively support these signatories to improve their processes and move these scores in the right direction. The PRI remains committed to this goal – and to the long-term goal of achieving positive systemic change across all responsible investment issues.
This reporting window has been very informative for us and hopefully for our signatories. Our goal going forward is to use the insights this process has given us to further optimize the reporting process and provide a framework that works for our signatories. We recognize the request, for example, to implement greater consistency with global regulatory reporting requirements where possible, to minimize duplication and create greater uniformity across the industry. Likewise, we know that reporting results should continue to meaningfully inform our broader outcomes as an organization – including our thought leadership, research and events.
With the release of the 2021 results, we are now fully focused on the reporting process for 2023, and we look forward to sharing further information on this reporting process in due course.