LONDON--An international initiative backed by the UN has drafted in public relations advice to support its efforts to develop a more sustainable global financial system.

The Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI) is a London-based non-profit that was created in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact.

Following a six-way pitch, the PRI has selected Lansons Communications to help it spread its message: that the investment community should incorporate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues into their decision-making.

The decision to appoint a firm follows the arrival at PRI of new head of communications Matthew McAdam, who previously served as associate director of comms at Standard & Poor’s.

Since launching seven years ago, more than 1000 investment institutions managing around US$30trillion of investments have become signatories to PRI's six principles. That number has seen a sharp rise in the wake of the global financial crisis, as fund managers pay increasing attention to ESG factors such as such as water scarcity, worker welfare, corruption, pollution and unstable supply chains, in a bid to reduce risk.

A growing number of stock exchanges, meanwhile, are introducing sustainability-reporting requirements, particularly in emerging markets. 

Lansons will advise PRI on a global basis, including the organisation’s participation in Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development this June.

The Lansons team is led by chief executive Tony Langham and associate director Charlotte Collins-White.