PRI Advisory Council candidate profile: Boston Common’s Geeta Aiyer

As you may have seen on the Responsible Investor website, the PRI is holding an election for its guiding body – the Advisory Council – and I humbly ask for your vote. I see this as an opportunity to make an important contribution to the future of the initiative.

I have been in the responsible investment field over 25 years and although I’m excited by its growth; I believe we must move further, faster, and cannot rest on our laurels. From carbon to commodities, China to Chile, hedge funds to human rights – now is the time for the PRI to help its signatories to tackle the new issues, asset classes and markets that will truly accelerate the growth of responsible investment and create a more just, sustainable world.

Why should you vote for me?

  • I believe it is important that the PRI empowers others to lead responsible investment in their local regions.
  • I believe non-asset owner signatories should get the maximum return for their involvement with the initiative.
  • I bring the experience of founding Boston Common Asset Management, one of the PRI’s longest-serving and most active signatories, alongside a strong track record as an investor and entrepreneur.
  • I believe the PRI needs to tackle its underrepresentation in the US market, while keeping European signatories at the heart of the organization and reaching out to new emerging and frontier markets.
  • I believe our experience using shareholder leverage to influence corporate practices globally, often in collaboration with other investors, will be helpful to growing the membership of the PRI.

Understanding the nuts and bolts

Boston Common has led many work streams since joining in 2009 and is currently a lead investor in dozens of PRI collaborations from climate change disclosure to sustainable palm oil & fisheries and water disclosure. As former US Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson once said, “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse,” and I think it is important for Advisory Council members to understand the nitty gritty of how the PRI can make a difference while collaborating with other like-minded partners around the world.

Winning in the US, with Europe at its heart

The PRI is still massively underrepresented in the US, Asia and Africa and I want to tackle this issue, while recognizing and building on the leadership of European investors. My understanding and experience in the US (I was honored to receive the annual award at the ‘SRI Conference’ last year) will aid PRI’s efforts to expand their influence globally.

Developing local PRI networks

Now is the time to encourage the development of responsible investment in emerging and frontier markets. Growing up and studying in India, I have first hand knowledge of what is required to succeed in these markets and am proud that Boston Common co-chaired theEmerging Markets Disclosure Project (supported by PRI) for four years from 2009 to 2012.

The second revolution

Anyone at last month’s PRI in Person event in Montreal could not help but be impressed by the intelligence, enthusiasm and influence that the PRI network has at its disposal. However, the PRI also faces critical challenges around governance, long-termism and ESG implementation. In short it needs to move beyond awareness-raising to impact; and will need vision and strong leadership to meet this ambition.

Thanks for your time and I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on what actions you think the PRI Advisory Council should take.

If you wish to support my candidacy for the Council, please cast your vote by November 19 at: https://unpri.simplyvoting.com (Your log in details should have been sent by ‘PRI Online Voting’ earlier this month). If you are not the PRI’s primary contact then please do feel free to pass this note on.

Kind regards,

Geeta Aiyer

President & Founder

Boston Common Asset Management, LLC

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