Fiduciary duties exist to ensure that those who manage other people’s money act in the interests of beneficiaries. The most important fiduciary duties are the duty of loyalty and the duty of prudence. A decade after the original Freshfields report, changes in investment practice and in public policy demonstrate that far from being a barrier, there are positive duties on investors to integrate ESG issues.

Following the launch of the report Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century (2015), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and The Generation Foundation launched a three-year project to clarify investors’ obligations and duties in relation to the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in investment practice and decision-making.

The project has three components:

  1. Working with investors, governments and intergovernmental organisations to develop and publish a Global Statement on Investors’ Obligations and Duties.
  2. Publishing and implementing roadmaps on the policy changes required to achieve full ESG integration in investment practices across eight countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK and US).
  3. Extending research into investor’s obligations and duties to six Asian markets: China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

For more information about the Fiduciary Duty project please visit

UNEP FI’s work on fiduciary duty is undertaken collaboratively with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), The Generation Foundation, and the UNEP Inquiry into a Sustainable Financial System.

Project Steering Committee

Peter Knight, President, Generation Investment Management
Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director, PRI
Nick Robins, Co-Director, UNEP Inquiry into a Sustainable Financial System
Eric Usher, Head, UNEP Finance Initiative

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