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At PIRC we believe our clients are best served by us looking beyond corporate statements rather than just repeating them. Our radical approach to research produces insights not apparent from annual reports and sustainability disclosures. By doing so we equip our clients with a nuanced picture of risks that need to be managed.

What makes our research radical?

The foundation of our research is thorough and incisive analysis of corporate disclosures. From board independence to climate plans, our expert and experienced analysts make sure disclosures stack up and uncover potential areas of concern.

But this is not PIRC’s end point. Even with the best analysis, not all risks are apparent from company reports. And in an ever-changing world, ESG issues are continuously evolving. That is why PIRC produces leading ESG research to challenge perceptions, discover and examine overlooked and emerging themes, and identify sector-specific risks.

More radically still, we believe it is critical to engage stakeholders rather than listening to one side of the story. This enables us to provide clients with early warning signs of problems within individual companies, highlights sector-wide challenges and ultimately produces a more complete analysis of ESG risks.


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Protecting pension fund value through proxy services
PIRC’s robust and definitive ESG analysis of individual companies enables clients to manage risks and fulfil their stewardship duties.

For a number of years we have provided proxy research for SAUL. This research covers their portfolio companies. The research includes data and analysis on board composition and independence, auditing, capital stewardship, executive remuneration, climate plans, and employee engagement. This research is used to make voting decisions alongside providing insights into ESG risks and areas for engagement.

Case study 02

Using research to underpin robust climate voting stances
The scale of the climate risks demands proxy research advisers thoroughly scrutinise company commitments and plans especially those with heightened stranded asset risks such as Shell.

PIRC does not cut corners in its analysis of climate risks. Simply having a published plan on climate does not guarantee a company is adequately addressing its climate risks. PIRC’s research highlighted concerns about Shell’s lack of ambition within its plans and raised questions about its strategy for addressing the commercial challenges of an energy transition.

PIRC’s research found: claims about carbon capture and storage and forestry-derived carbon offsets were not clear enough; highlighted issues around climate lobbying; pointed to the need for targets to be set out in terms of absolute emissions not intensity; and concluded that there was not an individual accountable for the climate policy and did not list the chair as responsible for the climate strategy. As a result of the research, unlike other major proxy research advisers PIRC recommended voting against a resolution to approve Shell’s energy transition progress and also recommended a vote against the chief executive and company accounts.

Case study 03

Analysing climate governance
To support clients manage climate risks, PIRC examines areas which would be overlooked in standard proxy analysis, including board governance needed to achieve a just transition to net zero.

In this focused report, PIRC identified the mismatch between messaging on how companies are addressing climate and social risk versus the skill-set and strategic understanding necessary to manage these risks.

The report based on engagements with companies highlighted a lack of related skills and experience, a lack of industry independence present on sustainability committees and a lack of formal mechanisms through which relevant stakeholders (primarily employees) can play a role in shaping the decarbonisation strategy.

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Case study 04

Putting the spotlight on mining and human rights
Following mining disasters in South America which killed hundreds of people and resulted in company fines in the billions, PIRC has supported a client’s understanding of mining risks by engaging stakeholders.

This detailed and hard-hitting report is based primarily on extensive engagement activity with affected stakeholders from mining disasters and discussions with companies as well as drawing on expert insights into human rights risks for investors in the mining sector.

The report highlights the potential causes of the disasters and sets out the expectations that investors can make of mining companies on human rights.

Case study 05

Uncovering the signs of corporate failure
Since the financial crisis, PIRC has been a vocal critic of accounting standards and undertaken extensive research for clients on identifying potential corporate failures.

This work has included thought leadership on the potential risks of investing in the service sector following the fall of Carillion and how to spot them. This report highlighted short selling warnings, balance sheet issues (including how the numbers in holding company and subsidiaries become out of sync) and concerns regarding the business mix.

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