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Annan Sounds Bell For Responsible Investment

Opening NY Stock Exchange, Annan Sounds Bell For Responsible Investment

New York, Apr 27 2006

Secretary-General Kofi Annan rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange this morning, launching a United Nations programme to encourage institutional investors to weigh the environmental and social impact of their investments.

The "Principles for Responsible Investment," a clear framework for integrating those concerns into investment decisions, are an initiative of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact, which was launched by Mr. Annan to advance good corporate citizenship and responsible globalization, and to promote human rights and fight corruption.

"The Principles provide a framework for achieving better long-term investment returns, and more sustainable markets," Mr. Annan told the Wall Street audience, calling the UN and business "natural partners" for that reason.

"If implemented, they have tremendous potential to more closely align investment practices with the goals of the United Nations, thereby contributing to a more stable and inclusive global economy," he added.

At the Exchange, the Secretary-General was joined by the heads of a group of international funds who later signed the Principles and whose combined investment responsibilities, he said, totaled $2 trillion dollars.

"You have a wide range of constituents and are involved in many different activities," he told them. "But what unites you, at least here today, is that you are all now convinced that their fiduciary role gives you a responsibility to include environmental, social and governance criteria in your investment policy and decision making."

As evidence that the UN practices what it preaches, Mr. Annan announced that the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, with nearly $30 billion in assets, also signed onto the Principles today.


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